After decades of people encouraging me to publish this story, it took wanting to explain the incarnation to my own seven year old that finally prompted me to make it a “New Year’s Resolution” for 2013. You can now order directly from the online publisher at: http://tinyurl.com/AndyAntslulu
The story comes to life through the wonderful illustrations created by Lori Butler, who started creating these images without my knowing or asking several years ago because she enjoyed the story so much and wanted to illustrate it for teaching in her own ministry. We’ve now expanded her illustrations and added a colorful cover as well.
On the back of the book I didn’t want to include any “spoilers” but here is a fuller description of the book for those wanting to know what the story is about:
What’s a boy to do when he learns that his beloved ant hill, hidden in a secret hide out, will soon be destroyed to make room for a new shopping center? When all human attempts to save them fail, there is only one thing left to do. Become an ant and warn them in person! This wonderful parable makes the concept of the incarnation understandable to children perhaps for the first time! Beautifully illustrated, this delightful story will have kids and parents turning each page and smiling as they discover the parallels to the true story of the One who gave up everything to warn those He loved and to prepare a better place for us in His Father’s House.
I hope you’ll consider purchasing this book and introducing “Andy and the Ants” to your children!
Find out how you can get AN EXCLUSIVE AUTOGRAPHED LARGE COPY!
Many who have been on Kidology.org for years are familiar with my children’s story, Andy and the Ants. I wrote it in high school, based on a true childhood experience of mine, as an illustration of the incarnation of Christ – it is the story of a boy who becomes an ant in order to save an anthill from destruction. Many have encouraged me over the decades to have it published. Several years ago a women fully illustrated it for me on her own initiative because she was so inspired by the story.
The time has come. My new years resolution for 2013 was to finally publish Andy and the Ants this year, and I have an incredible team of three highly skilled professional gals working on it, the artist is even adding some new illustrations as the storyboard comes together, and there will even be a video version withe me narrating the story for use in children’s church. It should be in print this summer.
However, I am “letting the cat out of the bag” in order to make a very special offer to my blog readers. Self publishing is not inexpensive, and Kidology needs to raise some funds for the production and publishing of this delightful book that is certain to have a wonderful impact on children both in homes and churches all over the world when it is published both as a print and eBook.
So, for a limited time only, I am offering a very special offer. We are going to print a SPECIAL LARGER HARD COVER EDITION that will be auto-graphed by the author. (Yup, that’s me!) These will be sent to anyone who makes a $48 donation in the US. (Or $68 internationally. US Dollars Only)
You may donate via Kidology’s Secure Donation Page or via PayPal. BE SURE TO PUT “Andy and the Ants Project” in the comments of your donation. All donations are tax-deductible and go toward this project. You will get a receipt for tax purposes.
If you are looking for a simple and kinda cool way to get an overview of your day – and doing some planning for the year, I just stumbled upon a cool new App you might enjoy.
It is called Cue, and it links you calendar, contacts, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, or whatever accounts you might want to link into a single simple view of your appointments and events for the day. It’s a pretty slim and sleek way to see what’s important for the day.
Also discovered, is a free Office App called CloudOn – integrates with DropBox. Looks very powerful and helpful. Worth a look!
If you have found some great new apps for 2013, let me know in comments below!
My favorite GAME is Air Wings! If you are in Game Center, my username is Kidologist, friend me, and I’ll blow you out of the sky!
I look forward to playing you, or hearing what awesome apps you plan to use to help you be more productive or successful in 2013!
Ladies… if you really want to impress your husband for Christmas this year. Don’t get him a tie. Get him something, anything, from Scottevest.com
I’m serious. And no, I’m not getting paid for this blog post, and get no benefit from it. I’m honestly just doing all the ladies out there a HUGE favor.
Your man loves his gadgets. But he doesn’t want to look like a nerd or dork carrying them around. He loves his iPad, but he doesn’t know how to carry it around without looking like he is taking work with him. He doesn’t want to be one of those guys… You know the type, with the batman utility belt filled with gadgets (like the step dad in Night at the Museum)
And he’s not going to wear some STUPID tech belt like I saw on my last flight in Sky Mall Magazine:
Are you kidding me? RIGHT.
But with a Jacket, Trench Coat, Sport Coat, Vest, Hoodie, Shirt or even boxers from Scottevest – your huck of love will be able to hide his tech gear and look like a normal sharply dressed man you won’t be embarrassed to be seen with. (Until he pulls out that iPad in the middle of the movie* from that hidden pocket to check IMDB to see who that actor is.)
So make this the Christmas you score major points, and tell ‘em @Kidologist sent you in the check out. (Just for fun)
How do you help kids develop an “Attitude of Gratitude?” Every holiday seems to get derailed with the wrong focus. Christmas is about getting presents and Easter is about candy – and Thanksgiving can end up being about FOOD!
MANY many years ago I wanted to develop a game for my students at church that would help them focus on being thankful, but in a fun and engaging way. I also had the issue of it being a low attendance Sunday with families traveling and as a result I often was short on volunteers. What to do?
I ended up creating a large group game that became so HUGELY POPULAR it became an annual tradition. The game has been available on Kidology.org for over ten years in my “home made” version – but we finally decided to create a “real” version worthy of the FUN that it creates and make it available for wider use!
If you have ever played Parker Brother’s classic card game of PIT – you will already know the basic rules – and get a mental image of how fun the game is. But instead of just a few players yelling out, “One! One!” or “Three! Three!” around a card table – picture a room filled with 100 kids milling around all calling out, “Two! Two! Two!” or “Four! Four!” or “Oh, no! I got a Gimmie!”
For you see, instead of collecting commodities, the kids are collecting things they are thankful for! And instead of inserting a “Bear” or “Bull” card there are some “Gimmie! Gimmie!” cards that must be avoided at all costs. Once kids have collected a set of one item they are thankful for, they sit down. The goal is to not be the last kids left stuck with the “Gimmie! Gimmie!”s.
In the end, everyone is a winner – and the chaos turns to a short but fun lesson on how important it is to be thankful for what we have, and to avoid the “Gimmie Gimmies” – that attitude of focusing on what we can GET instead of what we can GIVE (or already have.)
If you are looking for an easy and FUN activity for this month in Kids Church or even with your family – check out Kidology’s new downloadable game, “GIMMIE GIMMIE!” It comes in full color or grey scale and includes customizable playing cards so you can modify the game as you wish! Full game instructions included.
How are you handling Halloween? Kids are seeing a lot of scary images. Our culture is obsessed with evil. As you probably know, I wrote a Halloween Series this year. I just got this e-mail in from someone who just finished it:
We just finished up our final Spooky Lessons of the Bible last night. The kids LOVED it! Great lesson series Pastor Karl.
The kids really enjoyed the gross guessing game. We used peeled grapes for eyeballs, a loofah sponge and jello for a brain, REAL pigs feet from the meat section of the grocery and for the final night, we used pickles and pistachio nuts for gorilla fingers.
But most important, our kids better understand that they don’t have to fear death if they have a relationship with Jesus Christ. The most powerful story in the series was the final night – the lesson of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.
Again, thank you for this fun and powerful series. I look forward to seeing what else you have in store for us!
Gainesville Church of God, Florida
Lori mentions the last lesson. Well, I have taken that last lesson, and made it available as a SINGLE LESSON DOWNLOAD you can teach THIS SUNDAY!
The theme of this lesson is based on 1 Corinthians 15:55, 57: “‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The focus is on the Resurrection of Jesus and its centrality to the Christian Faith. By teaching this lesson, you’ll be able to redeem the season in a way you’ve never seen before, all while allowing your children to enjoy the season in a wholesome and fun manner.
1 Complete Bible-Based Lesson Plan loaded with Scripture
“Spooky” Bible story
Glow-in-the-Dark Game Ideas
Optional “Gross Guessing Game”
Fun “Scream Theme” main lesson point
Small Group discussion questions
Practical application ideas
A fun, short, (non-scary!) “Mr. Bones” video segment
Editable letter/e-mail to send parents
Let me encourage you to use this opportunity to help kids overcome any fears or concerns they have about Death that come with this season.
The kids loved it! They looked forward to Mr. Bones each week! We did our stories in the dark, around a flashlight and it was amazing at how quiet the kids would get…..and then suddenly….they were screaming. It was the best of both worlds. I don’t know why kids are attracted to things like that, but they are and it was great to be able to offer it to them via a Christian perspective. Thanks, Karl, for a great series.
If you have been discipling with Awesome Adventure over the years – you are in for an EYE-POPPING surprise!
You will find the same Bible-Rich Content that covers the same 12 Basic Discipleship Lessons – but communicated in an entirely new exciting way!
I’ve been personally transformed into a cartoon (!) – and entered into the book to take Dee, Cy and Paul (and their trusty dog, Chip) and two other new Christians, Luke and Laura, on a hike in Yosemite National Park to learn all about God and what it means to walk with Him!
Along with way they visit actual historic sites in Yosemite while learning about the Bible, Prayer, Fellowship, Spiritual Gifts, and many other important topics – while discovering the parallels between hiking and walking the Christian life! They learn that discipleship comes with dangers, and decisions and even a run in with a bear!
Your young diciples will learn right along with the kids in the book what it means to live for God along the path of life. There are fun interactive puzzles, codes, mazes, word searches, and colorful illustrations that make the book seem to come alive. I’m especially excited that a lot of my own photography from over ten trips to Yosemite was used, often integrated with the graphical cartoons for an amazingly unique look that you just have to see – its photo-realistic, and yet cartoony, because it is a blend of actual photos and art, for a look that I’ve never seen done before.
But beyond the amazing visual appeal, and engaging elements to attract kids – it is still the strongest tool on the market for discipling kids one on one, which is why my wife and I wrote it years ago, and why DiscipleLand published it and began their entire Adventure Series with this edition.
Sunday School and Kids Church Curriculums do a lot of good in teaching kids the Bible – BUT unless a parent or caring adult takes the time to disciple a child one on one through the basics of the Christian Faith, how do you know they understand and ‘own’ their faith? How can you be sure they understand the basics and can stand firm when they hit their teenage years? How can you help them establish the important habits that will last them a life time?
That is what Awesome Adventure was designed to do! The attractiveness and fun is to engage kids, the solid biblical content is to help make a disciple of Jesus out of them as they dive into the Word of God! Awesome Adventure gets kids into the Bible! There are over 220 scripture references in Awesome Adventure. When kids look these up and highlight them in their Bible over the course of this study, it gives them a powerful overview of Bible and a great sense of confidence in their ability to rightly handle the Word of God.
Awesome Adventure comes in two age levels. It is the same study with the same basic content, but the lower level is simplified for a younger learner:
Just likemuch of our adult worship music today, kids music too often reflects what Jesus warned against: “vain repetition.” (Matthew 6:7) We have songs that are nice, peppy, and certainly full of praise, but lack biblical depth or content. It makes me miss the classic “Sunday School Songs” I grew up on. In fact, when I have an opportunity to lead kids worship, I rarely use “video worship” and instead lead with my guitar, despite the fact that I only know about 6 chords! (My musical gift is being able to convert nearly any song into a D-A-G! LOL)
I’ve learned that if you are enthusiastic, speed up, slow down, have kids on stage, use motions, and then bring it all down and end with some seriousness, you can make up for what you lack in musical skill. Remember, it’s all about relationships. And I think a person is always better than a screen in the end.
But all that aside, I want to make sure you are using GO FISH in your children’s ministry. If you use video worship, Go Fish is probably the BEST out there – in every category. First, let’s talk about production quality. While it’s not the most important aspect, it is what draws kids in, and these videos are FUN and eye-popping and engaging! Second, the music is simply cool. It’s upbeat, fun, contemporary, and catchy. You can’t help loving it, no matter what age you are. Third, and most important to me, the content of their music is excellent. I give this music away constantly as gifts to kids I know. It isn’t “Christian Fluff.” It is spiritually and biblically RICH. They often take those “old” Sunday School songs and even hymns, which were strong in content but perhaps outdated in style, and update them so that your foot is tappin’ and if you are driving, you’ll be tappin’ the steeling wheel. (My personal favorite, however, is their bedtime songs. Yeah, they do the full spectrum of musical styles.)
But then, here is what floors me. They actually share the Gospel at the concerts – and that is rare. They are focused leading kids to Christ. Sadly, I don’t see that as often today as I should. Too many Christian products and resources are sadly missing the Gospel, which is what we are supposed to be about.
Check out this sample video of Sunday School classics Go Fish Style:
Let me just end by encouraging you, as you select worship music for your kids church services, select music that not only is upbeat and fun but also has some depth to it. There are certainly others out there who accomplish this too. But I highly recommend incorporating Go Fish. Your kids will thoroughly enjoy them!
Kidology has arranged to provide downloads of their music for you, and you can help support our ministry by shopping on our site, though you can also go directly to GOFISHGUYS.com to shop all their awesome resources.
BY THE WAY! If you didn’t use their VBS kits during the summer, have you considered using a VBS kit as a unit in Kid’s Church? You get a TON of their music as well as great lessons to go along with it! It’s a great way to have a special series in your children’s church.
I recently caught up with KidCheck CEO Alex Smith and interviewed him on my podcast, Kidmin Talk. Let me encourage you to invest just a few minutes to give a listen.
WHY is this worth your time?
If you are in children’s ministry leadership, one of the areas of responsibility you inherited, that you may not have counted on when you got your Call to Ministry – was the safety of the kids you oversee.
When I meet children’s pastors/directors and ask them, “So what was it that drew you into kids ministry?” No one has ever said to me,
“You know, I just got this divine Calling from God to make sure kids were securely checked in on Sundays and all entered into the church database and that their addresses and parents cell phone numbers were all kept up to date so that we could sent text alerts. Oh, and I felt the Holy Spirit tell me that allergy awareness was just something that I was gifted at and I needed to find a profession where I could make it a major focus.”
No. No one has ever said that to me. And yet I have had leaders tell me that had no idea they’d have to worry about separated parents with restraining orders picking up their kids. Liability for custody issues concerns them!
We got into this business because we wanted to introduce kids to Jesus, creatively teach the Bible and partner with parents in discipling kids, right? But we find ourselves responsible for some other pretty serious stuff.
How do we manage all this SECURITY STUFF that we admit is important, and we might feel a little guilty that we kinda hate it, but we know gotta do it?
Enter KidCheck! Listen to my podcast and find out how modern technology has taken so much of the work away from you, delegated it to parents, and has become easier and incredibly affordable - and just plain cool too!
Some might be surprised that I would write a curriculum for October that addresses Halloween – especially four weeks worth – a few offended even, others thankful. So in advance of it’s release I want to explain why.
The decision regarding whether or not to write this unit was not an easy one. I understand that the feelings surrounding Halloween and how we are to respond to it as Christians run strong on both sides. On one end, there are those who decide to completely ignore the ‘holiday’ (in quotes for it is hardly a ‘holy day’), and on the other end are those who wish to take advantage of the opportunity to reach kids and families through outreaches and Fall events, with many views in between.
By writing this unit, I am in no way condoning the events and practices surrounding Halloween that Christians disagree with and even sought to be very cautious in the images selected to both reflect the season while avoiding anything that is contrary to our belief system. I therefore focused more on bats, pumpkins, spiders, and items that exist in nature and that the kids enjoy.
But why do it in the first place?
There is a part of us that enjoys being “scared” – it is one way we deal with our fears. It is why we enjoy roller coasters and scary movies. By confronting our fears, or putting ourselves into fearful situations, we can feel a sense of control – at least that way, we are scaring ourselves rather than being a victim of something beyond our control.
As our culture’s obsession with Halloween continues to grow with each passing year, some reports claim that it is now surpassing Christmas in retail sales and in decorating investment by Americans. My desire is not to add to that focus, but instead, to acknowledge that interest and counter it by preparing our children with a biblical perspective on death.
It has always been my belief that the reason almost every culture has a “festival of death” of some sort is because of the unspoken fear of death that those without Christ carry around with them, perhaps even so deeply that they don’t consciously acknowledge it. Movie directors like Tim Burton create dark movies that constantly delve into death and the afterlife, and Hollywood pumps out one “end of the world” scenario movie after another because at everyone’s core lies the ultimate question, “What happens to me after I die?”
Though many parents might, I won’t take my son to movies like the upcoming “Frankenweenie,” but I do want to teach him, and equip others to teach their kids, about the One who trulyCAN raise the dead!
Halloween provides our culture with a way of making light of death. We laugh at death. We mock it. We decorate with skeletons and ghosts, we dress up with blood and gore, and we put on costumes of monsters and other frightful creatures and go door to door asking for candy. But after it is all said and done, that piercing question goes unanswered. And quiet nagging questions remain… “What will happen to me after I die? Will I really just return to dust? Will it all really just have been for nothing? Is there a hell?”
This unit is an opportunity to give kids the Answer. For praise God, there IS an answer. Jesus conquered Death. Death is NOT the end! And there is life after death! We owe it to our children to stand up to Halloween and teach our kids that there is an alternative to mocking the fear of death. Instead, we can teach them that we know a Savior who faced death and destroyed it and can raise us up too!
HERE IS AN OVERVIEW OF THE LESSONS:
Lesson 1: A Dead Girl Rises (The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter) Scripture: Luke 8:40-56 Scream Theme: “Have No Fear, Jesus is Here!”
Lesson 2: A Dead Man Walks Out of a Tomb! (The Raising of Lazarus) Scripture:John 11:1-44 Scream Theme: “When Jesus Nears, You Can Wipe Your Tears!”
Lesson 3: A Dead Man at a Funeral, Wakes Up!
(The Centurion’s Faith and The Raising of the Widow’s Son) Scripture:Luke 7:1-17
Scream Theme: “Death Must Run, When It Meets God’s Son!”
Lesson 4: Dead Man Raises Himself, Claims He Can Raise Others
(The Resurrection of Jesus) Scripture:Luke 24:1-53 Scream Theme: “Death Has No Sting, When Jesus Does His Thing!”
I’m excited to teach on the Resurrection at a time other than Easter, since it is so central to the Christian Faith! It is a powerful lesson, and a great opportunity to present the Gospel to the children. In every lesson, the kids learn not only how Jesus has power over death, but also how He has a plan for our lives, how He is caring and how He sees our needs and moves to meet them.
I have fun with the theme, while avoiding ghosts, zombies, witches and things I think will be the most offensive, though I realize this unit won’t be for everyone. I’ll give a refund to anyone who after buying it doesn’t agree that it is a powerful unit that will teach SOLID BIBLICAL LESSONS THAT SHOW JESUS HAS CONQUERED DEATH AND EVIL! So there is no risk if you’ll take a chance with me. I’ve allowed sever skeptic friends of mine see advance drafts and every single one of them have been exceedingly pleased with the result. I’ve been relieved with their feedback!
But know, it does allow kids to have fun with the scary theme. Camp fire stories, glow in the dark games, an optional (and short) funny “Mr. Bones” skeleton video to summarize each lesson. (Sample below) If you are familiar with DiscipleTown, which I write – you’ll see many of the same familiar elements: A PowerPoint template, an editable letter to Parents to help them understand why you are using a Halloween theme as well, object lessons and other helpful elements.
In the end, I think this unit will not only be fun for kids, but will help re-frame a season we tend to just cringe through and endure. Instead – why not seize it and say, “We’re not afraid of Halloween! For we know the One who has looked Death in the face and conquered it! Let’s stand up and tell our kids so!”
Every lesson follows a S.C.A.R.Y. outline:
Scary Story (Bible Story)
Crazy Fun (Game)
Afraid? Not! (The Lesson)
Relate Time (Small Group or Discussion)
Yes God! (Application)
and ends with R.I.P. = Respond In Prayer.
It’s a very fun unit your kids will enjoy, BUT it is PACKED with solid biblical lessons that are powerful and will hit hard on topics that are not often addressed as directly and creatively as this unit enables.
It is my prayer that this October thousands of kids will look at Halloween and the Power of God in a whole new way!
MR. BONES VIDEO from Lesson One:
If you have any questions, comments or concerns about the curriculum, feel free to post them in this discussion on Kidology.org. (link coming soon) However, I’m not looking for arguments about Halloween. I respect those decide to not do anything with the holiday, that is a valid decision. This curriculum is for those who choose to address it.
The curriculum will also come with a complete Trunk or Treat Fall Outreach Planning Guide written by myself and two other children’s pastors as an added bonus!
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