Below is an interview Rick Warren recently did that I thought was FANTASTIC and very encouraging and insightful, and I know you’ll agree. So here it is, right from the e-mail a relative forwarded to me:
You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now having cancer and him having “wealth” from the book sales. This is an absolutely incredible short interview with Rick Warren, “Purpose Driven Life” author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California.
In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said: People ask me, “What is the purpose of life?” And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.
One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body– but not the end of me. I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act – the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn’t going to make sense.
Life is a series of problems: Either, you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one.
The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort. God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that’s not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Spirit likeness.
This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.
I used to think that life was hills and valleys – you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don’t believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.
No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for. You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems. If you focus on your problems, you’re going into self-centeredness, “which is my problem, my issues, my pain.” But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.
We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her. It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.
You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life. Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.
It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don’t think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease. So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72
First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases. Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church. Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation. Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.
We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?
Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God’s purposes (for my life)?
When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don’t get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn’t put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He’s more interested in what I am than what I do.
That’s why we’re called human beings, not human doings.
Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.
Good stuff to think about! And just for fun: I google imaged a picture of Rick Warren and the first one I got when I opened the browser page I got a close up of his nose! It was huge. (way too close up) So I snagged his eye instead.
Well, with this Chicago white out and freezing rain and snow I was
almost stuck in California. My flight was only delayed but I didn’t
want my wife and boy driving in bad weather to the airport to pick me
up so I resolved to take a cab, which could have been over $100 with
the distance and conditions. Then my sister calls (before departure)
and her husband Keith is flying back from New York on business and
also facing delays, but has a car at O’Hare.
Well, as God would have it, we BOTH JUST LANDED at the same time! What
are odds of that at O’Hare and in these conditions?!? We are both now
just taxiing waiting for a gate to open, but I got a ride home! (Keith
and Melissa live four houses down from us)
Anyway, just had to share this little example of God’s provision
today. I might still be sitting on this runway for awhile, there is a
long line of planes waiting to deboard and the ones at the gates are
Life is an adventure!
Sent/Posted from my iPhone
UPDATE: Landed at 10pm, and sat on the runway until 1am! (three hours!) because the high winds were preventing any de-icing or take offs, so there were no gates. Keith got in an hour before me and was nice enough to wait for me. His tarmac wait was longer than his flight from New York, my flight was only 30 minutes longer than the wait to deplane. Whew!
At dinner last night with friends who had gathered in Vista, CA for a meeting, we were discussing a wide variety of things, but one statement stood out for me. It was a quote from a person quoting someone else, so I don’t know who to attribute it to, but one of the guys was saying that in a job interview the candidate asked:
What is the difference between an average person and a person of excellence?
The answer was FOCUS. The excellent person is just an average person, but with focus. There are many good things that can consume our days and we can be busy about a great many things, but the key is asking what is God asking me to focus on today? Your walk with Him? Your family – spouse or a specific child? Another relationship – perhaps a relative or friend? Or a specific project?
Every morning make it a habit to jot down 2-3 things that will be your FOCUS for the day. Put them first and allow them to DRIVE YOUR DAY and let the rest of the “stuff” that enters your day to come second, if you even get to them. Excellence will be the result.
Ironically, my rental car was a Ford Focus while I’m here. So that’s why there are car pictures instead of a magnifying glass or binoculars which would have fit the post better. (in case you were wondering)
My bags are packed, I’m ready to go.
I’m sitting here just blew my nose.
I hate to face it, but I must admit it’s true.
I’m leaving on a jet plane,
Don’t know when I’ll be back again,
CPC is over and I don’t know what to do.
Yes, it’s true. I’ve got the post-CPC blues. Its that feeling you get when all your friends have said good-bye and you’ve just finished stuffing all your collected ministry propaganda and Mickey souvenirs into your luggage and are waiting to head home. (but going home IS a good thing!)
While there are now many children’s ministry conferences, CPC is still the #1 place to network with other children’s ministry professionals.
Rob Biagi, the coolest worship dude for kids in America! I hear his music in churches everywhere I go. If you don’t have Rob’s music you should hide under a table for what your kids are missing out on. But instead, get out from under the table and get your hands on Rob’s V.I.P. to GOD Worship Leaders Kit or his latest CD Get Out There.
Kal Gilchrist, a frequent Kid U presenter (who was helpin’ in the Laflins booth) is an awesome energetic children’s pastor who continues to focus on encouraging others even as she faces some serious health issues. She can help you get creative and fun as easy as 1, 2, 3! (Yes, you’ll want them all!)
These Kidology Champions, Tedi Stoe and Dienna Goscha of River’s Edge Curriculum create highly creative, easy to teach, and FUN units for Kid’s Church. They are the creators of the ever popular Gadgets and Gizmo’s Object Lessons Kits (ONE and TWO) on Kidology.org
Barbara Baker is one of my favorite CPC Regulars. She is living proof that you are never too old to be creatively reaching and teaching kids! We crossed paths for years until I finally stopped her to meet her. (I usually saw her going the other way on an escalator for some reason)
Here is Barbara last year after she was asking me for advice on how to incorporate a remote Internet audience of children she would be broadcasting her VBS to in the summer. Now that’s one cutting edge lady!
It’s also fun to get to connect with Kidology CP Team members at CPC. This is Frank Tan who was volunteering as a CPC CA (conference assistant) all week. He is one of the few people who comes close to beating me at Sport Stacking! (but it’ll never happen!)
I need to get to the Mickey Magical Express, so I will have to post more when I get home, so I’ll end with a KarlTube video of me having fun over at the KidzBlitz booth…
with the TP Blower they use at the KidzBlitz events! Enjoy!
KidzBlitz is a sponsor of Kid U and will be bringing their show to put on for all the attendees! It will be a blast!
As a loyal reader of my blog, I wanted you to be among the first to learn about some free reproducible children’s ministry art that Dick Gruber created, compiled, and is making available as a FREE download! That’s right…this resource that includes years worth of his cartoon-style drawings is available for FREE!
Dick Gruber’s Evangel Art:Reproducible Art for Children’s Ministries is offered for FREE and includes:
over 40 evangel pages
385 picture words
124 scripture pictures
All artwork is provided in .jpg format and can be easily incorporated into any word processing, desktop publishing, or presentation software. To request a free download of Evangel Art, simply complete the download request and brief survey at www.cmuo.com/resources/evangelart. You will then receive an email with more details for downloading your free copy.
Here is an excellent post from the DiscipleLand newsletter:
Many kids have lost interest in spiritual matters. They are discouraged about trying to please God. From their perspective, it is not “cool” to be godly. So they focus on their own desires and let the world guide them. The number one challenge in churches today is to overcome mediocrity. Christian kids are satisfied with lukewarm-ness.
To counteract this trend, some churches have replaced content-rich children’s ministries with high-energy programs. This may keep kids from being bored and it may eliminate the need to recruit volunteers, but it also severs teacher-learner relationships that foster discipleship. If we routinely motivate kids with flashy events, we are doomed to the “bigger and better” cycle. Each new program must offer more energy, excitement, and “wow” than the previous one.
Instead, we must move kids from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation. Throughout the Bible, God uses a variety of cause-effect techniques to motivate His people. Some are positive and some are punitive; some are earthly and some are eternal. Some are fascinating and some are frightening. Remind children that every human being will someday meet the Creator face-to-face-and give an account to Him.
Every child can be motivated-though not every child responds to the same stimulus. Find ways to lift your child’s eyes from self to God. Help him or her realize that our omnipresent God is both loving and just. Establish an appropriate system of rules and rewards. Reinforce attitudes and behaviors that honor God. Show how faith is relevant to life. Encourage, affirm, model, pray.
One of fun things about CPC is the creative and fun ways exhibitors think of to promote their ministries and draw people to their booth. This year paper airplanes have been flying around the exhibit hall and they seem to all come from the direction of the TruthQuest Booth.
So I went to investigate and I got one for myself. They are very cool and are promoting their newest VBS Flight School. But always with my readers in mind, I ask Michael Martin (founder of TruthQuest and CP Extraordinaire) if he would e-mail me the PDF to share with y’all here, and he agreed!
While the ministry of Kidology.org enables me to make many new friends from all over the world, often these are friends that I know primary through e-mail or a forum ID. CPC is a great place to get to put names with faces and meet people who are fans of the site.
Judy and Kenneth Davis of big Kidology fans who were eager to come get their free button. I’ll be seeing them again in April when I speak at the Huddle in Roanoke, VA.
I first met Kris Smoll from Appleton Alliance Church in Wisconsin when we were fellow Moody students, but we didn’t cross paths again until she had me come speak at her church for their children’s ministry conference a few years ago. The following year, at CPC San Diego, she was asking me for recommendations for other childen’s ministry speakers and Kid U Appleton was born where we have done three Kidology Universities. Things just happen at CPC!
It was at a CPC nearly ten years ago when I met Steve Fortner of Parent Seeker on a shuttle to pick up a rental car and we discovered we were both heading to CPC! We kept in touch year after year even though it wasn’t until 2005 that my church finally bought an AWESOME set of their pagers for our children’s ministry. They are the most innovative paging system company that exists. Not only can their pagers deliver custom messages and display special news items for parents, but their new system JUST OUT THIS WEEK allows a special base system in each room to notify staff when and where they are needed and why. In a security situation a message can be discreetly sent to the children’s pastor or to an entire security team with the push of a single button. Before you buy a pager system from anywhere, start by looking at Parent Seeker. You probably won’t need to look elsewhere. And Steve will personally guide you through the entire process. Just tell him Karl promised it to you!
I met the amazing magical duo David and Teesha Laflin at CPC years ago and discovered their heart for not only peforming, but for reaching families for Christ. Too humble for their incredible talent, they are eager to serve and have been featured performers at several Kid U’s! They will not only amaze you, but bless you with thier sweet spirit. (and are willing to teach you their secrets on their DVDs)
Larry Crane is a Kidology friend who is always willing to share his ideas on the site and was pleased to see a quote of his from Kidology.org on a brochure in the Elevate booth! It’s always great to cross paths with Larry!
Last year at CPC Charlie ended up next to me in the massive banquet room for a general session before she recognized me and literally yelled with joy since her daughter had said all she wanted her mom to bring back from Disney World was the ToyBox Tales guy’s autograph. (ahhhhhhh) I gladly sent her home with a signed copy of the Order of the Ancient. What Charlie didn’t know was just how much I needed some encouragement on that very day and on that very evening. It was a gift from the Lord that a young girl I’ve never met was blessed by my ministry during a time I was really missing being in ministry myself and missing all the kids at my previous church.
So what a surprise and joy to bump into Charlie again and receive a thank you card from her daughter Haley a year later. Charlie had told her daughter the story of how I started teaching kids when I was only a young boy and she wrote in the card, “Dear Pastor Carl, Thank you for the book. My mom said that I am turning in to be like you because I taught one her class when I am only 8 years old. Love Haley. I Love God.” There are few things greater than being used in the life of a child.
THANKS HADLEY, YOU MADE MY DAY!
Another Charlie that many of you know as Uncle Charlie dropped by today to the surprise and delight of many fans. Charlie was in a head on collison two months ago that should have given him a “Straight To Heaven” pass. An oncoming car going 65 miles an hour crossed the center line hit him head on as he was also going 65. Both cars were instantly crushed into each other and came to a halt only 8 feet from the point of collision. The couple in the other car perished instantly but God was not finished with Charlie yet and spared his life. You can read more detailed updates on his site, but he is a living breathing miracle! He showed me pictures of the wreck and there is no reason he should be here on earth other than God’s Hand of protection and a life purpose that is not yet completed! He is still scheduled to be the worship leader at Kid U 10th in October and is praying for his steady (but painful) recovery to continue. God is good and we are so glad to be celebrating His amazing power in saving Charlie in that wreck! I’m sure he’d appreciate you adding him to your regular prayer list!
Last but not least for today: I met Shelly at a CPC years ago and as we were talking a giant tower of decorative balloons started to move toward us all by itself! We kept moving over and the balloons would follow. I finally decided that there must be a person inside and this was some kind of practical joke – but there wasn’t! It was some fluke of the air conditioning and the buoyancy of the balloons. Anyway, one of many funny CPC stories. Shelly has since hosted a Kidology To Go (see pics) and been known as Kidology’s #1 fan and so it was no surprise when the random Kidology button she chose had “1″ on the back side! She won a free copy of the Kidology Handbook! (she has also been known to stalk me)
I have no idea who this is. You have to be careful who you give your camera to in order to get a picture! Oh, well. But I need to get to Pillow Creek (bed) so I will post some more pictures tomorrow!
I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a “transformer” in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader.
~ Stephen R. Covey