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!
I need a simple lesson plan explaining the origin of Easter eggs and bunnies.
I don’t think much explanation is necessary. Since the eggs and bunnies have nothing to do with our Christian celebration, I think the simplest explanation is that they related to springtime when we are happy that winter is over. Spring also represents that new life will be coming forth from eggs, and nothing seems to represent new life as cutely as a bunny. However, as Christians, we think nothing represents new life better than JESUS, who proved he can not only bring new life, but he can even raise up the dead to new life!
I completely ignore the history of pagan celebrations with children. They are irrelevant and confusing to kids, and they are really just ancient history that has no bearing on today’s culture anyway. That isn’t why the eggs and bunnies are here today, so it’s a bit of a straw man. I would guess most of my non-Christian friends would take a slight offense at (or just laugh off) me accusing them of decorating with eggs and bunnies because of some ancient secular celebration that they probably know little about either!
So keep it simple, and quickly bring things back around to Jesus! Note in Galatians 6:15, Paul didn’t waste time on cultural debates, and instead said, “…what counts is the new creation.”
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
Followers of my blog know I’m a Star Wars fan. People often laugh when they hear me say to my son in a deep voice, “Luke, I am your father.” He laughs, even though he doesn’t get the significance of the quote. Since he is only six, he hasn’t even sat through all the movies, though we have watched segments and he loves the original Clone Wars cartoons I have on my iPad before the freaky looking version came out that looks like a video game gone bad. (I’m not a fan of the current Clone Wars show – yuck!)
Tonight, Luke had trouble sleeping so he was lying on the couch down in my office while I worked and looking at all the items in my Star Wars ‘museum’ – and noticed I have a lot of Darth Vader figures and collectibles and asked, “Why do you like Darth Vader so much, when he is a bad guy?” Good question. I answered, “Luke, Darth Vader is the reason I love Star Wars so much – because Star Wars is a story of a bad guy who was saved because of the love of a son, a son named Luke.”
My Luke sat up. “Wait, you mean, THAT’s Luke’s father?” – and so the conversation began. It wasn’t that he didn’t know I’d always been immitating Darth Vader – but it kinda hit him that the bad guy was the good guy’s dad. I explained that Luke was separated from his dad when he was little, and he was told that Darth Vader killed his dad, so he hated Darth Vader. I went through a quick summary whole first movie, saving the princess and all, and how he watched as Darth Vader then killed his mentor Obiwon, and that made Luke hate him even more. And how in the next movie Yoda was training him to become a Jedi so he could fight Darth Vader but when his enemy captured his friends he ran off to save them, and battled him and it was only then that Darth Vader told him this incredible truth – that he didn’t kill Luke’s dad, he WAS Luke’s dad. My son was spell bound. We talked about how all of America was talking about this revelation when in happened in 1980. (Not until The Sixth Sense did a movie have such a great surprise, and this was still bigger.)
But then we talked about how Luke had every reason to despise or hate his father, but instead he chose to love him and feel pity for him. He even told his dad so. Even when his dad stopped believing in himself – “It is too late for me, son” – Luke never gave up on him! Luke even gave himself up in the third movie and let himself be captured to go and face Darth Vader and his even more evil boss, the Emperor! (Now Luke was on the edge of the couch.) There, the Emperor told him of the trap that would kill all his friends and that Luke would have to join the evil side, like his dad, or be destroyed. The Emperor wanted Luke to kill his own father. But Luke refused. He loved his dad, even though he had done so much bad. He refused to fight him – only defending himself as his father attacked him under the Emperors orders. But then Darth Vader got Luke angry. He told Luke if he didn’t turn to evil, he would go after Luke’s sister, and that got Luke upset and then Luke attacked Darth Vader to save his sister – he defeated Darth Vader and even cut off his hand to make his light saber fall away! Darth Vader was defenseless! Now Luke could have killed him if he wanted. Did Luke do it? No. He was good. The Emperor ordered him to kill his father and take his place – but Luke did the most amazing thing, he threw down his light saber and said, “I am a Jedi, like my father before me.” He spoke of his father like he was good. He spoke of the time when his father was a good Jedi, of the time when his father would have died to do the right thing, and chose now to die doing the right thing, as his father would have done long ago. He wanted his dad to see that he had raised a good son, willing to die for good, even though he himself had failed, he had succeeded in having a good son, a son willing to die for him.
I asked my son, “Would you die for an evil man?” My Luke said, “No way. I might die for a good person, but not for a bad guy.” And I said, “That is the whole point! The Bible says that a man might die for a good person, but no one would die for a bad person, but here Luke is willing to die for his father who is one of the worst men in the galaxy, the second in the command of the evil galactic Empire – out of love for him. And Darth Vader is seeing this display of love, and what do you think is going through his mind as he lays there thinking, he could have killed me, and I deserve it, because I was trying to kill him! And now he is going to die so that I can live?”
My Luke says, “He must feel very loved.” I said, “I bet he does.” The drama only intensifies from there. The evil Emperor comes down, and says, “So be it. Jedi.” (Said with condescending disgust.) “Only now, at the end, do you understand. If you will not turn to the dark side, then you will be destroyed.” It was, in truth, the Emperor, who was not understanding that a plan of Redemption was unfolding right before his very eyes. This master of evil was unable to see the conflict boiling up within his apprentice, Vader, whose murder he had just ordered – a plot that had been foiled by love. The Emperor bellows to Luke, “Your feeble skills are no match for the Power of the Dark Side!” When in truth, this act of sacrificial love by this young Jedi would prove more powerful than all this powerful master’s evil schemes!
And then the Emperor begins to electrocute him with that powerful blue lightening from his fingertips. Darth Vader rises and keeps looking back and forth between his son who is suffering in agony and this evil leader who is killing him realizing he has a choice to make. Save his son or stay with this evil Emperor, who would have had his son kill him. I’ve always wondered if this was when Darth Vader woke up and realized he would be replaced as soon as his leader found a stronger Number Two, despite Vader’s fierce loyalty.
The Emperor pauses, only for a moment, to say, “And now, young Skywalker, you will die.” During the final burst of lightening, Darth Vader looks back and forth a few more times, as if to antagonize the suffering audience some more, before making his choice. Finally breaking from his frozen state of inaction, he bursts into motion, lifts up the Emperor and tosses him over a railing and down into a reactor shaft where falls, wailing as he plummets, until finally, he dies.
Not only is Luke saved, but Darth Vader as well. When Luke says, “I must save you,” Darth Vader answers, “You already have.” Vader does not physically survive the ordeal, perhaps due to his battle with Luke or the lightening when he lifted the Emperor, but his redemption comes from his choice to save his son and turn back to the good side, and the evidence in the world of Star Wars, is his being seen with Obiwon and Yoda at the end of the film in their ghostly jedi forms from the after life. Indeed, the faith and love of a son, brought salvation to a man everyone else thought was unreachable.
I’m not really a science fiction fan – I enjoy other science fiction films, but the reason I love Star Wars is primarly the story of the Redemption of Darth Vader. There is a lot more to it than I even have gotten in to in this post. (Note that fact that Darth Vader could sense Luke’s presence on the Moon of Endor and the Emperor could not! The Emperor asked, “How do you know he is there?” Vader answers, “I sensed his presence.” – “Strange that I could not,” responds the Emperor. Not strange at all, he didn’t love Luke!)
My Luke and I ended up putting in the DVD to watch the end of the film – and then looking up Romans 5:6-8 and John 15:13
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
I may pretend to have Jedi powers when I open automatic doors at the grocery store or open the garage door, but the truth is I am powerless. And I’m not a righteous person. I’m not even a good person. But God’s demonstrated his love toward me by having his Son lay down his life for me. He could have killed me for my sin – I deserve it as much as Darth Vader, for disobeying God. There is no one righteous enough to merit salvation. The real evil Emperor, Satan, has invited me to rule my own life at his side – but Jesus defeated him on the cross, dying in the process, for me.
Star Wars teaches us that there is NO ONE beyond hope. There is good in everyone – and we ought never give up hope on anyone. Love can conquer anything and anyone and that evil will ultimately be defeated by the Power of Love.
It is no secret I rooted for Mitt. I have autographed campaign hats to prove it. So what does an Obama victory mean, as a Christian?
It is important to start by saying that as a Christian – we operate on two plains. The earthly plain and the heavenly. For Scripture teaches that
All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things… Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, (temporarily wants) and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Too many Christians choose only one plain OR the other. They either ignore the political arena and spout spiritual platitudes and ignore the real dangers that politicians and government can wreck on the people they govern and in so doing waste the freedom that has been bought for them on battle fields around the world, OR they get so wrapped up in politics they place unmerited hope in a party or politician (on either side) to bring “Hope and Change.” I suspect they are ones really depressed today. (or gloating)
As one whose candidate lost last night, I have two separate responses. As I must respond from ‘each citizenship’ separately.
As an American citizen:
I am stunned. I am forced to agree with a tweeter I follow who asked, “Is this what a cult of personality is like? When we just like the person & don’t care about the damage they do?” I am sad that we have entered a new normal of 8% unemployment and what that means for real people out there, when our opponents whined and complained about Bush’s 5%. I’m concerned that qualifications no longer matter in the office of president. National office is now, no matter how much we don’t like it, all about marketing and communications. Track records mean nothing. We just ran a man arguably more qualified to be President than anyone else in the modern era… and lost. Soon, ObamaCare will burden both the national economy and employers and along with Social Security and MediCare be broke, overrun with bureaucracy and unlike anything before it, invade our privacy and put a drag on the economy. This isn’t “gloom and doom” – it’s common sense. But Obama wasn’t elected because of facts. He was elected because of a fundamental change going on in America… personal greed. People want stuff given to them and will vote for who is handing the stuff out – whether it can be afforded does not matter. And is it any surprise, when most Americans live that way themselves? They buy the platitudes and wonderful sounding emotional arguments without any investigation and they also have learned that it is the end that justifies the means as the ugliest campaign in American history is credited with the victory. Pundits claim both sides “played dirty” – but that is hard to back up. One side talked about the other’s record, the other attacked the man himself with baseless lies, profanity and vulgarity… and won. The lesson? Being classy, respectful and a gentleman = losing. It speaks more of the character of the nation than it does of the leader. Like it or not, we got a man who reflects the direction we are headed. Reversing course was rejected.
So, as a citizen, what does it mean? It means America can still thrive – but not because of government, but because of the spirit of Americans. I’m not one that is despairing and assuming a horrible four years to come. Americans can, and I believe will triumph, and regrettably Obama will get the credit, even as he puts stumbling block after hindrance in the way of progress. It is going to get harder for businesses to succeed and create jobs. We will not see the quick growth and recovery we could have, but we will prevail despite. We always have. We have the best and the brightest on earth! So at the individual level – if you haven’t already, you need to go against the grain.
But know this, you must live within your means. (That is soooo unAmerican today!) Pay off your credit card bill every month. If you have debt, get out. (Other than your mortgage.) There are going to continue to be a lot of people in need, and if your financial affairs are not in order, you will not have the margin to help others. You’ll need to be able to be responsive to assist others. It is going to continue to be hard on churches and non-profits. Giving will stay down. Ours should increase! They’ll need it more. Don’t hoard, bless others who need it.
Don’t follow the trend of WANTING and TAKING. That is the trend in America today. Be one of the GIVERS and DOERS. That is the best hope for America.
As a citizen of Heaven:
The election of Obama, 59,837,874 over Romney 57,191,003* was narrow. As stated above, many people like what Obama stands for, or at least, aren’t bothered by it. (Many were just scared of Mitt as they believed a caricature of him.) I’m not going to list those items, as I’ve moved from political to spiritual here – but much has to do with right to life, religious freedom and a practical atheistic view of the world. So as a Christian, my response is simple. It is a reminder that we live in a lost world. No surprise here.
I expect things to get even more unfriendly toward the Church and toward religious freedom and toward non-profits. But I’m not worried. Our freedoms are still incredible, and amazing when you consider the plight of Christians over the landscape of history. We have it pretty good compared to our brothers and sisters in many other places on this globe, even right now. This election should remind us that HALF of Americans at least, are very lost. (Granted some Christians voted for Obama, and many non-Christians voted for Romney.) But the point remains, our work is clear:
Some of us, as citizens of America worked hard for our candidate. (Whoever he happened to be.) Whether you are on the losing side, like me, or whether you are reading this and your guy won, (congrats), wouldn’t it be something if that same energy, money, passion, time and enthusiasm went toward the One who truly CAN bring “Hope and Change?”
As a citizen of Heaven, this is my last political post for another four years, when my American duty to engage in politics will kick in again. But I have very little power – just one vote – but I have a lot of power through the Holy Spirit to campaign for Jesus every day!
So today I am announcing a renewed effort to campaign for Jesus Christ, the best hope – not only for America, but for the World.
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.
This is part of a series called 24 Days of Thankfulness. These posts are in RANDOM order, NOT priority order. Each is something I am thankful for leading up to Thanksgiving.
DAY #17 : Awana and Sunday School
I was just serving at an Awana last night in Colorado Springs. I was reminded as I watched these clubbers of the impact of Awana in my own spiritual journey as I realized how blessed these kids are – and they don’t even realize it yet. For them, it’s just something fun their parents have enrolled them in.
Yet they are having a spiritual foundation laid that is going to serve them for the rest of their life. Some will come to Christ at club, others will memorize hundreds of Bible verses which will become the building blocks of spiritual thought that will form a biblical world view which will become the super structure upon which will be built a life of critical thinking. And I’m not over-stating it. Objective studies by outside researchers have found that most kids trained in Awana continue to faithfully follow Jesus as adults. (source)
Awana is also where I got my beginning as a children’s ministry worker. My first official volunteer position was as a Sparky Game Leader when I was a young boy. Serving in Awana taught me a lot about living for something outside of myself and what it meant to be a part of a Team reaching and teaching chidren… I was in barely into the junior high having just finished the end of what was then Awana Boys Club Pioneers. (Now T and T)
I have had or started an Awana Club in every full time ministry I have led.
Why? Because Awana has been the single most effective outreach ministry of the entire church. Hands down. Did you catch that? I did not say most effective in the children’s ministry – I said of the entire church. Every ministry I’ve been in, I’ve been a team member of the pastoral staff and blessed to serve on a staff that functioned as a team. (I know that is not always the case in children’s ministry, so I am thankful for this.) So I am well aware of the results of all areas of ministry when it comes to new families coming to the church and people (or families) coming to Christ and (most important) assimilating into the body life of the church – and nothing does it like Awana. In fact, no other ministry draws new people like Awana, as many families who are new to the community get online and look for the church in the community that has Awana. We did. And while we ended up not attending that church, we do take our son to a their Awana club since the church we do attend doesn’t have Awana. We want our son in Awana.
After fifty years, the results are in.
Churches that have Awana – see results.
Kids who are in Awana – benefit greatly.
But I also mentioned Sunday School. “What is that?” Some may ask. I know, Sunday School seems to be going the way of VHS and Floppy Discs and soon even DVDs. A thing of the past. Most new churches are not even bothering with it as their ministries are being built on a One Hour Sunday model built around a great worship/preaching experience and their new fancy buildings reflect this with one huge auditorium and a few child care rooms and no adult educational wing or classrooms. This is tragic. With no educational hour for adults, children’s ministry is forced into a “Kids Church Only” model, which severely hinders intentional discipleship. Even when there are two services, it is the same service twice in many churches.
Christian Education, as an intentional ministry of the church is threatened. You can’t do it in Kids Church, all ages combined, and you can’t do it in small groups for adults. You can do many good things in small groups, but not intentional in-depth Christian education, so a dumbing down of the Church is happening and it is showing throughout the culture. On the adult side the evidence is everywhere, and on the kidmin side, which only kids church (which can only do so much) the results are even tougher.
Churches with both an Awana, and Sunday School education hour and a Kids Church worship service will always produce the strongest kids spiritually. This is not to say the whole parent/home element is being left out or ignored – but the Church plays a critical role and so many churches today have forgotten what it means to have a comprehensive disciple-making strategy. Or they have no idea what those words even mean.
I know that I am the result of such a strategy when I was a child. And I am thankful for it. I see the impact on my life, my faith, and who I am today. It doesn’t mean I’ve lived a perfect life, but it means I’ve known the Path, and when I got off, I knew I was off, and knew where it was, and knew the way back. A strong spiritual foundation provides you with that perspective.
I am thankful for Awana and for Sunday School. They worked together so well as part of a right hand, left hand strategy in my spiritual development, and then Kids Church brought it all together with worship and topical teaching in a kid-friendly way. Just as the adult service brings everything together for “Big People.”
It’s really just something I need to DO MYSELF – but I thought maybe others might want to join me, and I’d enjoy reading/seeing what others are thankful for. So you are welcome to use the Word doc, or just post in the forum what YOU are thankful for! So let me begin today, with my first post. These are NOT going to be in priority order, otherwise I’d have to go God, Family, etc. and then later on, people might judge me for putting one thing “above” or “before” another – so right out of the gate let me say, these posts will be in RANDOM ORDER of things I am THANKFUL FOR!
Everyone worships God differently. The Bible says those who don’t worship God, arefools. (Creation indeed leaves them without excuse.) But how they worship God, varies based on personality and interests. Some sing. Some paint. Some build. Some create. Some meditate. Some think. Some write. Some serve.
While I find many means of worship enjoyable and meaningful, one that I find most pleasing and satisfying I call “worshiping through my lens.” It is simply enjoying and attempting to capture God’s Creation through the lens of my camera, and then taking some time to edit with iPhoto.
I enjoy the compliments I get and people are often surprised I’m not a “Photoshop” expert and do everything I do to my photos with only iPhoto. So I thought this time, instead of just posting photos from my Father’s Day outing to the Denver Botanic Gardens (where we have a membership) I’d go ahead and give you my “before and after” pics to show you the difference between the pics I took and the way they look after I had some fun on the computer with them.
NOTE: All pics can be clicked to be viewed larger.
White Daisies (BEFORE)
White Daisies (AFTER) See the bug?
Hungry Bee (BEFORE)
Hungry Bee (AFTER)
Lonely Flower (BEFORE)
Lonely Flower (AFTER)
Red Rose (BEFORE)
Red Rose (AFTER)
Purple Fields (BEFORE)
Purple Fields (AFTER)
Busy Ants (BEFORE)
Busy Ants (AFTER)
Fire Flower (BEFORE)
Fire Flower (AFTER)
Waves of Grain (BEFORE)
Waves of Grain (AFTER)
And then, of course, I shoot pictures of my favorite subjects: (no ‘before’ on these)
I often do this… it is relaxing and my own personal form of worship to sit and edit photos of nature on my Mac. I don’t post them often, because I don’t assume they would make for a very interesting blog if I did it often. At times I think I should start a photo-blog, but then that would be another website to maintain andIhaveenoughwebsitesalready!
I got to spend some time yesterday with family and friends in two of my favorite places in Colorado – Castlewood Canyon State Park, and Garden of the God. (I leave the ‘s’ off, there is only one God.) Little did I know the surprise that would await me and rock my Faith! But first, some pictures!
I worship through my camera, so allow me to post a few pictures. A few more are on my facebook page. (If you send me a friend invite, include a short personal note, or I will ignore it due to spam.)
I just can’t get enough of God’s creative art in the mountains and trees that He has created!
And I love seeing my little boy fall in love with Creation!
These rocks fell and caught here years ago… a sample of God’s sense of humor!
I love watching these climbers… tempted to join them, but… well, I won’t.
We saw this cave and it beckoned…
So we climbed up into it!
That’s my boy!
Here he is again!
One of my favorite spots to shoot every time I go to Garden of the God(s). It on a popular route and everyone walks right by.
And then I saw it… (you can click on the image to see it larger)
Through the woods I saw the most amazing thing… out there in the middle of the trees was the most incredible natural phenomenon!
Occurring completely on it’s own, without any intervention by man, was a fire hydrant! Obviously, this didn’t need any design or planning, it just had grown here naturally over the course of thousands or perhaps millions of years. I’m sure the $8 3D video program over at the Visitor Center would explain it in more detail, but I never watch those, because I hate how they deny a designer and planner for everything around this fire hydrant. But, obviously, this had to be completely natural! I see no signs of any intelligence or forethought or purpose or planning for this yellow iron mass. There is no need for a hydrant in this location. No way it fits into an overall plan for balance or safety or prevention. No master plan can be at work here. Obviously, it just popped up over time. It can’t be connected to a larger network in order to help a broader thought-out system be available in case of a fire? Nah. To think that this appearance here in the woods is evidence of intelligent design is absurd and ludicrous. I’d have to be religious or something and take that on blind faith to even suggest such a thing! The only logical explanation is that over a very long looooong period of time it just sort of kinda appeared hear and just happened to be a part of very complex and complicated system that only works once completed and that along the way it was somehow motivated in and of itself to keep evolving even though in its half developed stages it served no functioning purposes. Yeah, that’s it. Makes perfect sense.
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