A few weeks ago, I took my family to the Monster Truck Rally at the Colorado State Fair, and my little boy LOVED IT! (of course) I enjoyed taking pictures with my zoom lens, and finally got around to making a highlight video… ENJOY:
What IS it about Monster Trucks that makes them so exciting?
Is there a lesson for KIDMIN? I think there is. Do you know the history of Monster Trucks? I’ve learned quite a bit about them as a dad with a boy who is in love with them.
It all began in the mid-1970s, when Bob Chandler, then a St. Louis, MO. construction contractor, owned an F-250 4×4 pickup truck. Chandler used his truck on the job and for off-road family fun on the weekends. But he found ways to break even the toughest of trucks, and that led to the discovery that there was no place in the Midwest to get 4×4 parts and service. Recognizing a potential market, Bob, Marilyn, and Jim Kramer started Midwest Four Wheel Drive & Performance Center.
They still used their 4×4 as a work truck, and partly as a promotional tool for their business. They tried out new parts on the truck, and kept making it bigger and better, always a step (or two) ahead of everyone else. Soon the truck itself became an attraction – especially once he put GIANT WHEELS on it. In 1979, it did its first paid event, a Denver car show. Truck pulls in arenas and stadiums soon followed.
Then, in 1981, Chandler tried something that forever changed the monster truck concept. It fueled an explosion of fan interest and led to a legion of imitators. He decided, just for fun, to see if he could drive BIGFOOT over a couple of junk cars.
The first car crush ever in 1981. A few months later, he duplicated the stunt in a stadium show. The rest is history. In 1983, BIGFOOT began a sponsorship association with Ford Motor Company. In that time, the BIGFOOT fleet has had 16 monster machines and the F-Series pickup has become the world’s best selling vehicle.
Quite simply, MONSTER TRUCKS are just regular trucks – made BIGGER and doing BIGGER things. But people love it. Bob continued to ask, “What will make it more fun?” But he also continued to ask, “What will make it safer?”
Today, drivers are safer than ever with suspension harnesses that keep drivers bouncing in their trucks as they do huge jumps, and their trucks can be remotely turned off by up to three different people outside the truck at the push of a button in case the driver loses control and the truck goes racing toward the stands full of spectators!
What can Kidmin Leaders learn from Monster Trucks?
If you want to draw kids and families to church – ask yourself the same questions Bob did. What needs are there in your community that no one is meeting? Meet them! And you will draw people to your church. Then ask, how can we do church BIGGER and BETTER than ever before? But don’t neglect asking as well, how can we do it safer as well?
When you read about a game or object lesson or skit or other children’s ministry idea – BLOW IT UP! Make it BIGGER AND BETTER. Any idea can be done HUGER!
Whatever you are doing, ask yourself, “What would GIANT TIRES look like in this situation?” Be ahead of the pack and GO FOR IT! You just might stumble onto something that will fill your church with new folks who you can then share the Gospel with. OR, you may just end up with an object lesson or game that is ten times more impactful or memorable.
Turn ordinary ideas into MONSTER IDEAS by blowing them up!
Many friends and family have been calling, e-mailing, facebooking or texting to ask how the Colorado Fires are affecting my family, or to make sure we are safe. We are fortunate to live an hour North of the Waldo Canyon Fire, but even so, we have seen its smoke on the horizon and breathed it’s wrath even this far away.
We have joined many others in mourning the loss of the Flying W Ranch – a Christian outreach and church, the many who have lost homes, and share the nervousness as the Navigators property is now being touched by the flames and putting the Glen Eyrie Retreat Center at risk as well as Garden of the Gods – both some of the beautiful landscape in Colorado.
Of course, homes and lives are precious too. I will leave the quoting of stats and numbers to the authorities, not only to avoid error, but because they are constantly changing.
I do want to post some pictures. Not to be sensational, but to help you see the seriousness of the fires and urge you to pray.
Pray for rain.
Pray for those fighting the fires bravely.
Pray for those who have lost everything to find peace and hope in Him who can bring a comfort no home or possession can. May the “peace that passes understanding” encompass them as their hearts are broken.
My dad took this from his front yard, that is the back of Glen Eyrie property.
Colorado Springs. (That is the Air Force Academy at the bottom.) (Instagram)
Thank you for your concern for my family. My dad lives in the Springs, just eight miles from the Waldo Canyon Fire and is housing an evacuated family. We all appreciate your prayer and support at this time.
You can see live coverage of the Waldo Canyon Fire here: KKTV.com
Instead of a Christmas Letter this year (December was just to crazy this year!) I opted for a more electronically savvy method, and created a video to reflect on 2011. Besides, it was too hard to choose which pictures to put into a letter – we started one, and which pictures to choose, was so hard!
This year included a trip to California to see my childhood best friend, Andy, get married, (and a trip to DisneyLand while there) and another trip back later in the year to perform my first wedding for his little sister, Lindsay!
We enjoyed many visits from friends coming to enjoy Colorado and stay with us (when are YOU coming?) and enjoying this beautiful state ourselves as we still discover its vast beauty!
Luke turned 5, and wanted a “real Jeep” for his birthday, so I rented a Jeep for the day! I started “Dad School” a mini-home school to focus on the areas he needed help, and also “Family Pit Stops,” our evening family devotional times as he got old enough for intentional spiritual input from Dad.
Sara is a table leader for MOPS at our church and I continue to write a children’s church curriculum called DiscipleTown in addition to leading Kidology. I wrap up a two year column in Children’s Ministry Magazine after being named one of the Top 20 Leaders in the past 20 years, which was a pretty big surprise and honor. We added three new employees this year, with new VP of Operations starting January 1st, so we are pretty excited about what God has in store for our little ministry.
In addition to my fourth Yosemite Summit, I also got to take Luke and Sara this year – and seeing Luke discover my favorite place on earth, and show him all my “secret places” the tourists walk right past was a real treat, and watching him find his own, “secret places” that he wants to come back to someday. And extra bonus, after speaking at two camps this year, was being invited back to one on short notice (a previously scheduled speaker got called to heaven on short notice) I took my dad with me and we added on a trip to Yosemite, just as father and son – yet another highlight of the year for me personally.
So 2011 was a busy year, but a good year. In 2012, I hope to find a slower pace and perhaps some more margin, but am still eagerly excited to see what God has in store for my family.
Thank you to everyone who calls us family, friends, and who supports us in prayer. If you are not a part of my personal prayer support e-mail list, it’s called the Kidology Champion Prayer Supports List, and you can subscribe here. Just update your Kidology Newsletters to include that list.
I hope you had a Merry Christmas, and we wish you a Happy New Year from our family to yours!
Mommy is off on a women’s retreat, so daddy and boy can either stay home and watch TV and eat whatever food we can find, or…. head out on an ADVENTURE.
We chose the latter, and headed out to Castlewood Canyon State Park!
We had a great time, and without mommy, of course, we were free to roam “off the trail” a little more than usual. (hehe)
And boy oh boy does this boy love to climb! Of course, I have a knack for taking pictures that look a lot higher than they really are!
Both of these above, Luke is about five feet off the ground. (LOL)
I would never let Luke climb up anywhere high!
I get such a kick out of him stopping every now, turning around and saying, “Take my picture daddy!” I can’t imagine where he got that!
At one point, Luke decided to show me how strong he was! I was pretty impressed! He was going to roll it all the way the down the hill, but I made him put the rock back where he found it.
But what is a hike without bringing some cars to play with? Hiking with Luke is unique, it involves stopping every so often to play with cars, especially if a great spot is discovered…
For example, this was a cool “car cave” we found!
This was my favorite picture of the day – if you click it to enlarge it, you’ll see he is splashing water. (It’s my Macbook Air wallpaper now!) We found this mini pool on the top of a ridge overlooking a beautiful vista and spend quite a while there just hanging out, playing cars and relaxing.
Since we didn’t have mommy, we missed out on her usual great picture taking, so there are no pics of daddy, so I had to get creative – and settle for one of my shadow pictures!
It was a great day! Next was ice cream and then off to pick out a pumpkin and carve it, but that’s tomorrow’s blog post!
For Luke’s Fall Break, we came up to Breckenridge and on Monday we headed out for what we thought would be a 2-4 hour tour of the area to see the changing leaves… it turned into a twelve hour tour of Colorado! But we had a great time!
It was great having a convertible at a time like this!
We had driven past this scene and a mile past I ended up doing a U-Turn to go back and took about twenty amazing amazing pictures here…
It ended up being one of the most beautiful stops of the entire day…
The horses kept posing for me in different arrangements!
But Luke’s favorite was when we spotted a UFO back in the hills that had just landed! We got a picture and then got out of there before they abducted us!
Here is a close up zoomed in:
That had to be the highlight of Luke’s day! For me, it was just being out with the family, cruzin’ with the top down in the PK Cruiser:
Later, Sara said her favorite stop was by this old tractor and wooden barn, and I must say, I did enjoy photographing my favorite subject here:
And he was a great sport as daddy made him pose this way and that… but then, he was getting to climb all over a tractor, so it was a pretty cool deal for both of us!
Even peeking into a mysterious old shed has it’s appeal! (I found my way in, but didn’t tell him, there were too many ways to get hurt… but it was cool!)
I dread the day the cooperation with the camera will cease… but right now he puts up with it, knowing it is our love that drives the click, click, click. Perhaps there is a little vanity in him that enjoys looking at the pictures later? I’ll take it! I want to remember these days.
The barrel was filled with spools of old string. Letting him keep one was the deal that got him to climb in for a picture, though later I realized he probably would have climbed in anyway… it was kinda fun!
Even Sara agreed to pose for a few pictures for me!
Now there’s a facebook profile pic!
I thought it funny that we both got pictures of ourselves in the car mirrors:
That’s the road up the Continental Divide she is taking… which I took up at the top:
and then from the other side of the Divide as well, looking the other way:
It turned out to be a pretty crazy day, though fun. We chose a route on the Lodge “Activity Guide” and charted it out on the map, thinking it was perhaps a 3-4 hour drive and it turned out to be a nearly TWELVE HOUR drive! We went over the Continental Divide a total of FOUR times by the end of the day. We were laughing that they would give guests a “leaf viewing tour” that was a 400 mile tour of Colorado and not tell them it takes 10-12 hours. We only stopped for one meal and one store and to take pictures a few times, so it wasn’t like we lengthened the trip by much. We were just glad we had left around 10a.m. and not after lunch!
Of course, as the driver, I was getting most of the blame from my weary passengers, but I kept blaming the piece of paper we were following. But in the end, we mostly laughed it off and just enjoyed the day together.
I did end up deciding there were some lessons from the day, and you can hear all about that in my Kidmin Talk Podcast #3 which I recorded earlier today. There were really quite a few fun applications to the Adventures of the day to ministry, but I won’t go into that here, it’s best told on the podcast already.
But it was a great day with the family! Fall is definitely here – and God did a spectacular job showing off His creative abilities with splendor. He didn’t have to make the changing seasons beautiful you know. He could have just been practical. But He chose to do it with class and color and have a little fun with it, just for our enjoyment. The same opportunity is given to us. Why be practical all the time? When you can, do things with class and splash a little color and fun into life too. Not because you have to, but just because you can. That’s how God operates. And guess what? You were created in His Image! So stop being so practical and waste some time and be creative and unpractical for a change!
Do something beautiful and unnecessary, before you forget how.
That will make God’s day – just like He made mine this week.
Friday, I ditched work (something that’s a little easier to do when yer da boss!) and headed out to the mountains for a day hike with a friend to check out a hike to three lakes up in the mountains east of Idaho Springs. And it turned out to be a beautiful way to spend the day. Dinner on Friday was the beginning of our church’s “Men’s Advance” (real men don’t ‘retreat’) in Fraser, CO, so I decided to spend the day hiking to get into the right frame of mind to the men’s retreat… ooops, advance.
It was a beautiful day and the aspens were in full yellow changing!
The first lake, Chinns, had an old cabin on it that we had lunch in it. It was pretty awesome wondering the history of this settlement.
The next lake, Sherman, was less exciting, but it did have a cool tree out in it that we posed for some pictures out on.
Another view of Chinns Lake from up above on our way to Slater Lake.
Here is Craig Wilson checking out Slater Lake, and as you can see, there was snow still on the hillside belong the lake… where we would soon be heading…
Can you find Craig up on the hill? (on the snow?)
The view back down to Slater Lake from the top of the snow pack! See all the mountains in the distance? They were as far as the eye could see! (And we never saw another hiker the entire time we were there.)
I “skied” down the snow on my rear end! (and pretty fast too!) Until I hit the rocks! Craig caught a pic when I hit the rocks at the bottom:
So…. what did I do for my 42nd birthday? I blew off work and took my family and went and did my favorite thing… I went hiking!
I recently got a great new hiking book called Colorado Lake Hikes that I highly recommend. This was the first hike I’ve done in the book. We decided to visit St. Mary’s Lake and “Glacier.”
On the way, we spotted this beautiful water fall on the side of the road. That’s one of the things I love about living in Colorado – there are gorgeous spots like this all over the place. We can just pull over and Luke can get to play in Creation just off the side of the road. It was simply beautiful!
Soon we were on our way up the mountain. This was Luke’s second “real” hike. I haven’t had a chance to blog yet about our family vacation in Yosemite yet, where he hiked up to the top of Sentinel Dome! He is very proud of that feat!
He is proving to fit into nature just, well, naturally. I wonder where he gets his love of the outdoors from?
Luke wants to climb on top of every rock we pass… which adds quite of bit of time to the “hiking time estimate” that was in the hiking book!
Can you find mommy and Luke in this picture? By the way, every picture in this post can be clicked on to view larger in a new window!
We often call Luke “our little poser.” He climbs up on stuff and says, “Take my picture here, Daddy!” Hope he doesn’t outgrow that too quickly!
Spotted something beautiful through the trees!
It was an all uphill hike, but Luke held up pretty well for the most part…
Spotting WILD LIFE is always a highlight. We thought we heard a bear, but Luke claimed that was just Dad making toots! We’ll never know for sure.
But we did see lots of Chipmunks!
Finally, we reached the lake and glacier… which technically isn’t a glacier, but a “permanent snow pack.” There were a lot of “cool dudes” with snow boards hiking up there to surf down it! Crazy, we thought!
Just beyond those rocks, was the lake! And it was BEAUTIFUL!
But Luke wasn’t impressed. He was more interested in throwing rocks in the water:
and seeing how BIG of a splash he could make:
But at least the backdrop was nice:
467 splashes later I was able to get him to walk along the shore to where we settled down for some Birthday Cheesecake to celebrate 42 years of life!
THEN IT HAPPENED! A huge gust of wind came along and BLEW our stuff! My hands were full and I couldn’t stop the plastic container and yelled to Sara and Luke to grab the cheesecake dish but it was too late!
It blew “out to sea” as Luke said, and was gone!
It wasn’t just the potential $500 fine I was worried about, I love my state and the outdoors, I didn’t like the idea of leaving with this huge plastic “boat” (as Luke called it) floating out to the middle of the lake!
We kept an eye on it, and about a half hour later, the wind changed and it actually drifted back about 500 feet away and I was able to retrieve it! Luke thought it was the funniest part of the day and keeps telling people all about it!
Here we are! Luke didn’t want to leave his splash making for a picture, so we got creative with this picture… turned out even better we think!
I love the outdoors. It refreshes me. It refills me. It rejuvenates me. It recreates me. It refocuses me. It renews me.
People ask me why I moved to Colorado. I want to show them pictures like the one above and just say, “This is why.” Why would you want to live anywhere else, if you have a choice. I know I am blessed to have a choice. For now, God allows me to be here. So I am breathing deeply and filling my lungs with Colorado Air.
Next, we headed into Idaho Springs, and went BeauJo’s Pizza – a famous mountain town pizzaria joint here in Colorado, where I order Beaughetti! Spaghetti in a garlic bread pizza crust! Yum! Yum!
Got lots of snow and ice? I know JUST what you need! Spikes!
Last year I tweeted that I was heading to Yosemite for a solo snowshoeing trip and @32NorthSTABIL tweeted me and recommended that I get a pair of their STABLicersfor my trip. Well, I replied that I’d take a free pair and try ‘em out!
Next thing I knew, these arrived in the mail:
My Gift From 32 North!
So I took them to Yosemite in the middle of winter:
It was a great trip! In fact, I snow shoed and hiked around quite bit taking all these amazing pictures:
But whenever I didn’t have my snowshoes on – I had to walk on ice and slippery roads, and MAN did I like having THESE one:
They gave me a firm grip even if they did make me sound like a rusty tap dancer everywhere I went! I highly recommend them to anyone who plans to be walkin’ around on ice or snow! They go on quickly and pack small, so I was able to keep them in my pocket and have them handy. It’s dangerous to be walking around on ice – one fall can pretty much ruin your trip!
I keep them in my car now and have them ready for whenever I find myself out and needing to walk around ice or yucky ground, which in Colorado, is OFTEN!
THANKSHeather for the STABLicers and sorry my review took so long! It’s just that now it’s so easy to be out in the snow having FUN with no fear of falling!
What are a bunch of Christian’s doing hangin’ around the Devil’s backbone? As I mentioned awhile ago, I have started a guys hiking group here in Colorado, and a few weeks ago, we finally enjoyed our first hike. We explored the Devil’s Backbone up in Loveland, Colorado. Here are some pictures from the day.
(As always, you can click on any picture for a larger view)
Here I am at the entrance, it was a beautiful day!
Here is the Fellowship of the King on one of our stops!
The guys got along pretty well for the most part. (note the sign!)
“Devil’s Backbone” is the name of the rock formation that sticks up and runs through the center of this open space.
At one point, I climbed to the top and got a picture of my shadow…
And a picture through one of the holes in the formation. Cool, huh?
We hiked for about seven hours and nearly nine miles, but it was worth it.
At times the lighting was spectacular, even as clouds began to roll in…
I especially love when there are shadows of clouds on the hills…
Some lonely trees on a distant hill were neat to photograph as well…
We spent some time walking together and sharing what was going on in our lives and ministries, but we also split up and just spent some time alone with God enjoying the scenery and the solitude that an quiet open place like this provides away from people and phones and interruptions…
Sometimes taking the “road less traveled” is exactly the road you need to travel. I know that this day away came right in the midst of a bunch of impending deadlines for me. I actually didn’t “have the time” to take the this day away. But then, when do I truly ever have time to take a day away? Never.
That’s one of the lessons I’ve learned in life, the hard way, that it is precisely when you don’t think you have time to get away, that you need to get away. And you know what? All that stuff that you think can’t wait… it can. There are few things in life that can’t wait a day. In fact, everything can wait a day.
I’ve got a list now of about a dozen guys in the Denver area who are on my invite list for this “Fellowship of the King.” I know only a hand full will be able to make each hike, but that’s O.K. But I’m going to keep inviting them. Each time I can schedule a hike, those who can make it, will be my band of brothers who will join me as we hike and journey together and hang out with God and His amazing creation. I’m already excited about the next amazing hike!
If you aren’t in Colorado, let me encourage you to start something for ministry folks near you! It doesn’t have to be hiking. What refreshes you? But don’t make it “ministry.” And I’m not talking about starting a “ministry network.” I’m talking about getting away from work and talking about work, to just be with God and talk about life and family and what God’s doing in your heart and what on your mind.
That kind of thinking and reflecting just doesn’t happen in your office. You need to get away. You need to get where you can hear God and feel His presence. Where is that for you?
Find it! And go there regularly. God puts places to find Himself everywhere, if you look for them, they can be found, you just have to be looking.
Man, I wish I lived up in one of those homes on top of those cliffs! Those folks have got a view!
And if you are a guy and want to really get away, consider joining me on Yosemite Summit this may – it is the most spectacular place on the earth where God showed off His creative talents and where you will be awe struck at the things He made!
One of the guys e-mailed me this and said he thought perhaps he found the real “devil’s backbone!”
If you are a male ministry leader in Colorado and would like to know when the next Fellowship hike is, be sure to contact me and let me know so I can add you to the invite list!
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