In the fall of 2006 I reached a breaking point. I was last person to admit I could no longer handle being a full time pastor, a full time “kidologist” (whatever that is!) – run a non-profit ministry while writing, speaking, training, etc. and be a husband and then over-night I became a father. Six months later I snapped. That is over-simplifying the breakage that took place – but this is a public blog. But the Sunday after I resigned my pastorate and canceled all my speaking engagements and headed into what would be two years of healing and rebuilding my life from the inside out – I went to a board member and friends church ready to soak in instead of put out.
As though a conspiracy against my heart, the sermon series was tited “Out of Control.” Go figure. Who told them I was coming?
On the stage was a giant TV Remote control. Each button related to a sermon. Here is a QUICK overview getting to the point of this post:
Stop - Sabbath: Me? Guilty.
Fast Forward – Vision, living with the future in mind. Me? Oh, boy. I had that button stuck. All I used to talk about was Vision! I’m all about Vision, which is good, Great even! But I failed to live in TODAY. Guilty.
Reverse – Dealing with the past. Luckily, I got a break that week. This sermon dealt with dealing with childhood wounds and I had a wonderful childhood, and I really don’t have baggage there, so I was received. It was a good message, but I enjoyed a week of not feeling beat up.
Pause - Reflection – stopping to reflect on how is your walk with God is TODAY, your marriage, your relationship with kids, friends, etc. I was always about where I was going – I needed to plan periods to stop and ask, how are things right now? Guilty.
But the one that got me the worst – and that I didn’t see coming, and the point of this post, and the reason I am heading to Yosemite this week, and why my post says “Thank you Pastor Jeff Griffin” -
WAS PLAY: RECREATION. I totally did not see this one coming!
Pastor Jeff defined recreation as RE-CREATION. That which re-creates you.
Let me explain.
Up to that point, I had always said,
“I am so blessed that my occupation, my vocation and my recreation are all the same: children’s ministry!”
I couldn’t have been more wrong!
I mistook FUN for re-creation. It IS TRUE that children’s ministry is FUN – there is no more fun and enjoyable ministry than working with kids – but it doesn’t re-create me, it DRAINS ME! And I had been being drained for fifteen years.
This may come as a shocker to many who know me, but I am an introvert.
WHAT?!?!? But I am a public speaker and love to entertain and make people laugh and am comfortable in the spotlight. Yes, that is where my gifts and talents are – but I recharge and refresh and renewalone.
HERE’S THE POINT:
That Sunday Pastor Jeff challenged us to intentionally plan a way to be re-created explaining that this is the true nature of recreation. I leaned over to my wife, almost sarcastically, because at that moment, I thought his challenge was IMPOSSIBLE, and I said, almost bitterly, as I was so empty and drained and exhausted and hurt and in pain and said,
“The only way I could be re-created would be to go to Yosemite alone for several days with just my camera and worship music and be alone with God.”
Granted, in September 2006, I was in no place to do such a thing – but the seed was born and the idea took root and would not go away. A year later I got the courage to ask my wife seriously if she would let me pursue this dream, and she said if I would go with some other men. (She feared me falling off a cliff for the sake of a picture!) I also had shared with her that I knew I couldn’t be the only children’s pastor who needed this!
As a result, Yosemite Summit was born. Me and eight men have since gone twice. You can read and view pictures and video of the Summit of 2008 and 2009. If you need this event and can not afford it, a 100% scholarship has been given for this year.
But today, over four years after I heard that sermon, my dream of going alone for several days to Yosemite for a one on one with God in Yosemite is coming true.
I want to thank Pastor Jeff for that sermon. I also want to thank him for taking time with me for several meals and meeting during those two years of healing in Illinois. His grace, love, advice and belief in me was healing.
Some see me as some children’s ministry blogger or ‘guru’ or expert. Some have called me a ‘giant’ of children’s ministry – those words scare me. My other website may be giant, but I’m no giant. I’m a little man with huge flaws and I thank God for men like Pastor Jeff who saw only the man and who saw none the stuff around me and cared less about my ministry, and more about me and loved me into a new place of health and vitality that has equipped me for the next phase of life and serving God with new energy and perspective that is free from the old drive that while accomplished a lot, about killed me and my marriage.
I finally understand what it truly means to be dead to self, and alive in Christ.
Thanks Jeff – I’m in Yosemite this week, hangin’ with God because of you!
It’s hard to believe, but my little boy that entered my life rather suddenly four years ago, is now a little man.
It was a very special birthday – as we had both sets of grand parents in town. My dad and his wife live in Colorado, and Sara’s parents flew in from California for this special event and to visit for a few weeks.
We took advantage of this unique opportunity and went to a photo studio to get nice photos taken of each of the grandparents with Luke, as well as some shots of mommy and daddy with our little boy.
Lukey was an absolutely sweet heart the entire time and we got some wonderful pictures.
Here is Luke with my dad and his wife Patty…
Luke with Sara’s parents, PJ and Dave…
Here is Luke with all his Grandparents!
I can’t believe Luke is four! Here is the post when we first got luke, looking at those pictures brings back so many memories. When I ask Luke what happened to my “baby Luke” he answers, “He grew up!”
Four is an amazing age! It is the age I asked Jesus in my heart. It is also the age at which I have the earliest memories! So it is an awesome realization that I now begin creating memories for Luke that he might remember his entire life! It is a big part of why I moved to Colorado, I want him to remember mountains and the adventures we will start to have living here.
Obviously, his ability to talk and play and interact is incredible now and growing daily! I am so looking forward to his fourth year!
I have had this framed poster hanging in my home or office for over TEN YEARS (I think much longer!) and have offered a cash reward for years to whoever was the first to “find the identical pen men” if only to solve it for me! I have starred at it and wasted much of my life wondering if it wasn’t a cruel joke.
And then tonight, I SOLVED IT!
I have used all kinds of systems. I have had post-it notes on it, going row by row. I have made photo copies and cut it up and tried sorting it. But I never finished any system. Then here, in my new house in Colorado, I hung it up in the restroom in the new Kidology office thinking there I might have more time to devote to this evil poster. (I know, TMI!) And today, I was in there patiently dealing with one of my Colorado bloody noses (I get those a lot here, part of my adapting to the altitude, and since I’m on blood thinning meds due to my heart episode, they take longer to stop… yeah, more TMI!) I was looking at this infernal poster and tried a new strategy…
If I was the artist, where would I put the two identical pen men?
and suddenly, I SAW THEM! Seriously! All these years of starring, and systems, and going row by row, and all I had to do was get into the mind of the artist, and WA-LA! I solved it!
So…. can YOU find the two identical Pen Men? You can click on the photo for a larger view. Don’t put the answer in the comments (moron) but send me the answer (row and number from the left) via e-mail me or private message via FB or DM via twitter and the first person to tell me I will mail you a prize! Seriously, I will! I PROMISE, and it will be a GOOD PRIZE! I’m very generous.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Justin Brooks! Many tried, but he is the only person to send the correct answer, so he got his choice of a prize and chose a free copy of the Kidology Handbook! (A $60 value!) and it is IN THE MAIL!
What is the Kidology Handbook? CLICK THIS TO FIND OUT:
It’s the craziest video I ever made! The “back story” is I spent all day on a promo video that I had to trash because of a table saw in the background that I didn’t hear until I went to edit! My webmaster left on vacation with the Kidology newsletter already cued and ready to go with a file name where I was to upload a video! So I had to head back to the Kidology headquarter after midnight to film… late, tired, wired on Dew, and desperate for a promo video… and this was the result! Turned out to be one of the best promo videos I’ve ever done. Last minute wackiness at its best! Order a Kidology Handbook Today. And just for reading this far, use the coupon code ‘penmen’ get $5 off your order, never expires! How’s that oh faithful blog readers! (Will work only on the handbook, once per e-mail address.)
TONIGHT AT 7pm Eastern you can watch (Live via U-Stream) the LAST $1000 BEING RAISED FOR LEUKEMIA RESEARCH!
A Kid Making a Difference
Cam is the son of a woman I met at CPC last week:
Heather and Me @ CPC Nashville 2010
I first ‘met’ Heather when she e-mailed me via Kidology.org and told me about the amazing and moving testimony on YouTube by her pastor’s 19 year old son just ten days before he died of lymphoblastic leukemia last August. He died on Wednesday and her team needed to lead VBS in the midst of their grief knowing that Ben, who had once been a prominent leader at such events, was now with Jesus. His story is both sad and yet moving and wonderful at the same time. I was moved to tears hearing of how it has impacted their church and was delighted to meet Heather after one of my workshops.
I then got to hear about the “Ben Ripple” – how Ben’s life and testimony has been impacting the children since he died, including Heather’s son, who announced to her recently that he would be hosting a concert to help others survive what took Ben’s life.
Why did I title this post “The Last $1000 Needed for Leukemia Research” ? When Cam was at the Canadian Cancer Society setting up his event so they could accept donations, he said to them “Wouldn’t it be awesome if this were the last $1,000 that needed to be raised for leukemia research?” I love the faith of children! I think it would be AWESOME if it was the last $1000 needed!
Cam at the Keyboards Practising
I was so moved by this boys desire to make a difference and I was disappointed I couldn’t be there for the concert, so I gently pushed Heather to live web-stream the event and guess what, she is doing it!
So let me encourage you to DONATE, even a little. Here’s the scoop:
If Cam raises $1500, his dad has to shave his head! I don’t think his dad was counting on a guy with a highly read blog helping his son, so let’s make sure his dad goes bald folks!
And, if you want to bless them a little more, drop in for the concert, as you’ll be able to chat during the concert too. I’ll be there, so let’s encourage this young boy.
I’ve always said, kids don’t yet believe they can’t make a difference – so we need to encourage them!
UPDATE: The event is over, here is a video hightlight, enjoy, it only 50 seconds:
I’ve been working on writing DiscipleTown Table Talkers all day, for the fifth unit due to come out soon, and one of my favorite parts of this curriculum is the Table Talker family devotional component.
So I thought I’d put a sample on my blog to give my blog readers a “taste” of a family devotional that will be part of the next DiscipleTown unit. Each devotional has an easy “Let’s Play” component that gets families playing together with no complicated preparation – just something they can do with stuff usually right at the table, tho this one uniquely has them using the whole house due to the lesson point. Then there is a “Let’s Talk” discussion question to get every member of the family talking – but it is a targeted question that is setting them up for the topic. Next they are in the Word with “Let’s Read” followed by a short devotional “Let’s Think” that helps guide a parent on a spiritual discussion. But it doesn’t stop there. I always end with a “Let’s Do” practical application. Most are just a verbal application, but one of the three will be an assignment that can impact the family in a practical way, but I’m careful to balance them so that they don’t get overwhelmed. I want them coming back for more.
Well, with no further a-do, here is a sample – pre-edited by DiscipleLand, soon to be a part of DiscipleTown: How To Follow God’s Plan
Choose someone to start as the “seeker.” Give every person five pennies. Everyone else will go hide somewhere else in the house. When the seeker finds someone, they have to give the seeker a penny. The person they find becomes the new seeker and goes to find someone else. The old seeker now hides. Every time a person is found they have to give the seeker a penny and they become the new seeker and the old seeker gets to hide again once the new seeker is out of sight. If a player runs out of pennies, they become a seeker in order to get more pennies! The object of the game is get as many pennies as possible. A parent determines when time is up.
What is the best reward or prize you have ever received?
Read Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Which did you like better? Hiding or seeking? Are you a better hider or seeker? Do you think God is a hider or seeker? (Take some time to discuss this!) It may depend on whether you are seeking Him or not. But this verse tells us that God rewards those who earnestly seek Him. What do you think it means to earnestly seek God? What does that look like? How do you think He rewards people who seek Him? Would you say that you have earnestly sought Him? If not, what would it take for you to do so? What would need to change? What is holding you back? What do you think would need to change in your life? What can you image God might do in your life as a result if you did? It is kind of exciting to image what it might look like if you truly did earnest seek God. Go for it, I dare you!
Think of one thing you could do to earnestly seek God this next week as family or as an individual. Share it with each other and then check up on each other!