I was on the Dave Logan Show today on 850AM in Denver, yeah, a Sports Talk Show! (And you thought only my brother could talk sports! Though I did confirm some of my facts and get a few corrections via text from him while on hold!)
The topic was great memorable wins you will never forget. I was on my honeymoon, and yes, Sara and I were watching basketball!
On the road of life
There are two ways to go:
You can choose Abundant Life, or say,
“Whatever, dude – We’ll see how it goes…”
Now I don’t know about you
I just know about me
And I know what to do
If I wanna be free!
I’m followin’ Jesus – Jesus
I’m followin’ Jesus – Jesus
Down the road we go – it’s really rather odd
We can play it safe and slow – or fly through life with God!
I don’t know about you
And everyone’s goin’ that way
I just wanna be free
So I’m gonna walk by faith!
I’m followin’ Jesus – Jesus
I’m followin’ Jesus – Jesus!
My son explains to me one day that he accepted Christ all by himself in bed. When I asked how and why, he said,
“Well, it’s like your friend sings, ‘There are two ways you can go, and you have to choose.’ And I’m choosing to follow Jesus.”
It doesn’t get much clearer than that!
If you aren’t using Rob’s music in your children’s ministry, you are depriving your kids of some of the best written, best sounding and most meaningful Christian music available for children. There is a lot of fun fluff out there that passes as children’s worship music – and a lot of adult worship music jazzed up for kids, but Rob’s music communicates solid biblical themes kids need to hear within tunes they enjoy hearing and singing. There are only a few Christian Children’s Artists of his caliber, and he’s my favorite solo artist.
AND THIS MONTH, (September 2013) you can get a TON OF HIS MUSIC FOR FREE if you are a Kidology Member! And his latest CD for only $10!
This summer my family and I traveled to Okoboji, Iowa where I did the children’s teaching for the Okoboji Bible Conference. It’s a super conference that families travel to from all over the country to enjoy not only the conference, but the family activities in the area from the lake to the amusement park and more. I taught mornings and evenings and then our family had fun during the day too.
One evening a sweet little girl came up to me, gave me a hug and slipped me a note “to read later.” One side was a picture of her holding my hand and the other was said, “Carl, you are the dest mijishan I had ever met. LOVE Ellie.” She even drew two linking rings unlinked, followed by an arrow and then they are magically linked!
(Click to view full size)
Of course, this simply note made my day, and her creative spelling only added to the charm. Out of a gymnasium full of children one little girl took some time to get some paper and crayons and make me a little note… a note I shall be saving. It reminded me of an encouragement note I got the last time I spoke at the Okiboji Conference in 1996 that I still have and blogged about long ago from the mom of Phil Vischer.
Simple acts of appreciation mean a lot to people. We often assume people get lots of affirmation – but usually this is a false assumption. When was the last time you got out a piece of paper and wrote someone a note of encouragement? A word of thanks? Have you let someone know lately you think they are the best? In an age of tweets, ‘likes’ and text messages a snail mail letter or hand written note means even more than it ever did.
Just marveling how my “little boy” is growing up! I went back through my iPhoto and grabbed the first day of school pictures since Luke started pre-school and it’s fun to see him growing up:
Luke going to first day of preschool…
Luke going to first day of Pre-K:
Luke going to first day of Kindergarten:
Luke starting 1st grade this week:
On one hand – I am amazed at how BIG he is, it seems only yesterday I had my first Father’s Day with a little baby:
But on the other had, it hasn’t gone quickly. I know parents are always saying “the time flies” but it hasn’t seem to fly for me. I have been so enjoying each and every day and the unique aspects of Luke’s personality at each age, and what he can do, and what he is learning, that I feel like it’s been going at a pace that I’ve been truly enjoying.
I’m sure when I’m at his wedding, I’ll join the chorus of “how did it pass so quickly?” But for now, it’s going at a great pace. There are things I’m eager for him to be older and able to do with me, and there are things I miss about him being younger. So along the journey of fatherhood I am just enjoying each and every day and making time every day to enjoy him.
As mentioned on my podcast this week, my son and I spend a great deal of time each day playing Angry Birds… but not on an iPhone or iPad… but with real birds and pigs and blocks, and I might mention they are Star Wars themed too!
We take turns building towers and placing our pigs, and then trying to knock them down with the birds via the little sling shots.
There is a bit of strategy to how we build, but for the most part you are building something you know is going to be destroyed.
So while we may spend a great deal of care and creativity building, we can’t get too attached to our masterpieces knowing the whole point of the building, was to knock them down! We have to remember the real joy isn’t in the building, it is in the playing together. In fact, the whole point of the game isn’t what we build or even the shooting of birds to knock it down – it is Daddy-Son time. At the end, when the floor is a mess, it is a sign that we had a great time.
It’s kinda like kidmin. It reminds me of the effort and energy we put into building our ministries and how frustrated we can get when people mess with what we are trying to build, or when we watch what we’ve built be torn down by others or messed up, or become ruins after we leave a ministry. We must never forget – it was never about the building in the first place! It was never about creating great programs or even running great programs… It was simply about the relationships at the time, the kids, the volunteers and the parents.
So when you see things get knocked over, or find yourself needing to build all over again. Smile.
And remember, it’s all about the people and the relationships. The building is just what keeps us busy and brings everyone together.
So I was sitting at Burger King writing while my son was enjoying a kid’s meal and playing in the play area. He was delighted because his meal came with a cool Monster Truck! After a while, he noticed that there were two more Monster Trucks under the play area that had apparently rolled there. We discussed how some poor kids apparently lost their toys and probably left in tears. Luke said he wished we could retrieve them, but they were impossible to reach. One of them was extremely far away, and the other had broken into the two pieces it originally came in, wheel base and top shell. The space under the play area was locked and only accessible by an employee.
I said to him,“They are only impossible to get if you lack the will to accept the challenge and the ability to use the resources at your disposal.”
I replied,“Do you know what a challenge is? It’s when you decide to attempt something that appears impossible, using what you already have. Let see what we have available to us and try to get those Monster Trucks! The worst that can happen is that we’ll fail.”
Luke said, “Those kids’ dads failed; they left them here.”
I answered, “I bet they didn’t even try.” (Do you see the Life Principle here?)
Our first tool was a foldable “Wet Floor” sign that enabled us to get the top half of one car out, but that by itself was pretty useless. I knew we needed to get more creative to reach farther under the play area where the trucks had rolled. I asked Luke what we’d need if we could have anything we wanted – if we had unlimited resources. He said a stick would be perfect. So I said, “Great idea! Then let’s make a stick! I’ll be right back!”
I returned with a hand full of straws. We constructed a stick out of straws, and then from two different locations, with quite a bit of work, we were able to fish for the bottom half of the first car and then the entire second car.
We ended up with quite an audience of cheering kids and curious moms as we worked the trucks toward Luke’s eager fingers!
Finally, the quest was over. What had seemed impossible resulted in Luke having not one, not two, but THREE cool Monster Trucks to take home! But he also went home with an important lesson: When you accept a challenge and put your mind to something, using what you already have, you can do the impossible when others give up and leave good things behind. Even if we had failed in our quest, we would still have succeeded in trying! Life is all about attempting the impossible, and the worst that can happen is that you might fail. I want my son to know that trying and failing is better than not trying at all.
I want him to know that he can REACH FOR THE IMPOSSIBLE and that failure IS an option.
When he sees something he wants, I want him to go for it, using what he already has, instead of walking away making excuses because he thinks something is out of reach. If I have learned anything in life, it is that nothing is out of reach if you are willing to stretch creatively and reach for it.
And if you are willing to link a bunch of straws together!
When I was ten years old, a children’s evangelist came to our church for five days of meetings. I loved everything I saw. (I even figured out a few of his magic tricks and built them at home in our work shed.) At the end of the week, I told my mom, “That’s what I want to do when I grow up.” My mother’s response: “What’s growing up got to do with anything? You start next Wednesday.” And she put me in front of the kids at our Awana club and coached me through planning my first lesson.
I’ve been teaching kids ever since. Literally thousands. All over the world. And I’ve been equipping and encouraging those who minister to children through Kidology.org – all because of a mother who didn’t think I had to “grow up first” to get started.
My mom went to be with the Lord on Christmas Day in 1996. On her deathbed, she shared with me that in Bible College God had given her a vision for a worldwide ministry to children. Like David, who had a vision to build a temple that he would not get to build but that would be built by Solomon his son, she believed her vision was to be fulfilled and built through her son. And it pleased her.
She was the first “Kidologist.” Long before there was an Internet, she was equipping and encouraging those who minister to children, from Bethany Baptist in Chicago to Bellflower Baptist in California to Lorimer Memorial in Illinois to Moody Church in Chicago, and everywhere else in between. She was never well known, but her legacy lives on through every child I reach and every life I am able to touch. I must also include her sister, my Aunt Linda, who is pictured with her above and who was also a huge influence on me. She is now the Matriarch of our family. My mom’s ministry legacy lives on through my sister Melissa as well, who is pictured above as a kid next to mom dressed up for a pirate outreach. While she does not have an official kids ministry, she touches lives everyday by being a “big sister” to a needy girl, by befriending those going through trials, by loving every child who crosses her path, and by being the most awesome volunteer at whatever church is lucky enough to have her. I know, because I’ve had her as a volunteer in my own church, and WOW, what a volunteer she is!
I just needed to say, today, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM, and thanks for making me a children’s pastor at age 10. I’m still at it! Thanks to you, your vision lives on.
This is a video I shot as the year changed from 2010 to 2011… in answer to the question, “What Matters Most?” for an online video conference I was participating in that year. I thought I’d post it again this year, since the answer hasn’t changed…
Make sure you prioritize the relationships in your life in 2013.
We still enjoy sending out a traditional Christmas Card greeting to a select list of family and friends – though it is a challenge every year! But it is a great opportunity to get updated addresses on people you know and love.
But it also forces you to make tough choices too.
Have we heard from them in while?
Do they still live there?
Are they still married?
Have they ever written to us?
Who are they, again? LOL
Often you see a name and such fond memories come back. A smile appears on your face as you remember years of ministry together. Once in awhile you crack up laughing over something that happened. Sometimes sadness sinks in. They’re divorced. You were at their wedding. What went wrong? Other times you wonder, why haven’t we heard from them? What’s changed in their life? You hope they are doing OK. Life happens. Other people’s addresses change and their cards come back. You wonder if you’ll ever reconnect. Then there are those who pass away. Memories are all you’ll ever have. Until heaven, of course!
Relationships and networks have only grown with the Internet, e-mail, and facebook and Twitter! (I suppose I should include circles on Google, though I only dabble there.) It’s hard to manage them all! Life is too short and too busy to keep up with everyone we have ever worked with, played with, laughed with, liked, loved, or been related to!
But at Christmas we try to catch up… even if it’s just a card, or letter or a blog post or a video or even just a quick e-mail.
That’s one comforting thing about being a Christian and belonging to the Family of God. We will have all of eternity to catch up with all the people we feel behind on here on earth. A new heaven and new earth without the pressures of work and deadlines and a calendar that reminds us we are getting older and no hurry that pushes relationships aside because of things we tell ourselves are more pressing. (When they probably really aren’t most of the time.)
We won’t need Christmas to play catch up. We’ll be able to walk and talk and catch up all the time. I’m looking forward to it. But in the mean time… I’ve got to get some Christmas Cards in the mail. If you don’t get one, don’t be offended. I’ll be posting a video and blog post as well soon, but “catch all” strategy. And no worries, I take no offense at those who ‘forget’ or skip me. I’m planning to spend some quality time with all of you Someday. Let’s make a point of it!
Tonight was the night for our annual family pumpkin carving. Which means, I carve two pumpkins and Sara carves out hers. (I’m not letting Luke handle a sharp knife just yet!) But we did let him design his pumpkin on paper first.
It was fun looking at pumpkin designs online first – and boy oh boy are there some amazing pumpkin designs out there! So much potential in a simple pumpkin! You start with this plain ol’ pumpkin, and yet it can become anything you want it to be. It all depends on how creative you are willing to be, how patient you are willing to be, how careful you are willing to cut away at it, how much time you willing to spend on it, and how unique you want it to be. You can settle for something like everyone else – or you can decide to be different and unique. And of course, practice helps you improve over time. My least favorite part is cleaning out the insides – but it is a necessary evil if you want the light inside to shine out!
It kind of reminds me of how we build our ministries. There is so much potential! And how effective we are all depends on the same factors. Are we willing to look at others to see what they have done? There is lots of help online available too! From Kidology.org and other great websites. And if you are willing to be creative, patient, and carefully cut away at it, and put time and effort into it – you can build a pretty amazing ministry! Are you just going to build a basic one like every other church? Or do something unique and different that will draw kids and families? And of course, practice will help you improve over time. And don’t forget, if you really want God’s Light to shine through you and your ministry, you must be willing to get rid of the junk that that distracts. The good news is – inside that junk, are seeds that can result in spiritual growth!
So how did our pumpkin carving go?
I went with a SCARY pumpkin!
Sara was much more creative and artistic with hers….
Luke made his throwing up…. (totally his idea!)
If we were having a contest, I think Sara won!!
Pumpkins won’t last… but your ministry will have eternal results! If we can put this much time and energy and fun into something so fleeting… what are you doing to make your ministry creative and lasting?
It’s not a contest… but it does matter! BE CREATIVE!
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