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We celebrated Luke’s eighth birthday “Hazzard County” style! He’s loved the “Dukes” since he was little, just something about those cars flying through the air and crashing!
As is the annual tradition, Mom made an amazing cake to go with the theme:
You can enjoy a video tour of the cake here:
It was an amazing cake!
The Duke boys jumping the canyon over Boss Hog
The Hazzard Police having trouble catching the Duke boys!
Even Herbie made a visit to Hazzard County!
Luke wanted to decorate his own cake, so Mom gave him a cake he could have some fun with, so here is HIS cake:
Luke is proud of his cake!
Don’t you just want to eat this??
For our first game, I gave each of the kids a LEGO car chassis and let them get creative with my LEGO in building a car… then we sent them down a ramp to let them crash! They had so much fun:
Then Luke got TWO monster trucks that were designed to be able to run at the same time (often remote control vehicles signals conflict!) – so I set up a “Monster Truck Rally” and the kids took turns getting to race the monster trucks, it was a ton of fun. Here is a short YouTube video to show how it worked:
Then it was time for the Magic Show:
Of course, kids always love magic – but I decided to try something new that I had never done before – a magical talking General Lee who would wish Luke a “Happy Birthday!”
The Magic Talking General Lee!
So fun to see the kids go crazy with excitement!
Enjoy a video of the Magic Talking General Lee:
We are so proud of our “Luke Duke,” he is such a sweet boy – he is kind, considerate, considers the feelings of others, and has a heart of gratitude. He makes friends easily and wants every day to be an adventure. We can’t wait to see what God does with his life.
Mom and Dad with our Luke Duke from Hazzard!
Luke and his grand parents
By the end of the day, Luke was done with pictures – but what a great day we had celebrating our boy!
What a FUN Day!
I was invited to be a special guest again at Cherry Hill Community Church, where they have a wonderful children’s ministry. Whenever you are given the opportunity to teach at Christmas time, it presents a unique challenge. You are, of course, teaching the greatest story in HIS-Story – but it is also a very familar one. So how do you tell it in a new and creative way that will still engage children who can easily “check out” when they start to hear the familiar parts of the story. I searched my computer for countless ways I have addressed Christmas in over twenty years as a children’s pastor – and then walked into my vast kidmin prop warehouse and started seeing things that could be used to tell the story! At the same time, as I prayed about it, I was wanted to elevate the story above the mere facts of the traditional story to WHY did God sent Jesus? The story is truly epic and transcends the birth of Christ from the origins of time all the way to Christ’s Resurrection all the way to today!
Then it hit me! Why don’t I tell the ENTIRE STORY OF CHRISTMAS FROM CREATION TO TODAY!
I know, sounds crazy. But I’m known for crazy ideas. So I sought out to bombard the children with an onslaught of props to capture their eyes and engage their imaginations and begin with eternity past, creation, the problem of sin (yes, you can get philosophical with kids!) carry it through to Christmas, explain several of the rarely taught truths of Christmas such as why did the wise men know about the star (from missing writings of Daniel in Babyon) to the fact that they were not even at the stable as is often depicted! And then carry the story through Easter and then through to it’s conclusion today by presenting a child from the audience with the same choice Adam and Eve had – only a forbidden gumball from a gumball machine instead of a forbidden fruit from a tree!
I ended up with four trunks of propped, a few tables and a lit up star up on a pole!
Click to view larger
The kids enjoyed it and leaders even told me they learned some things they didn’t know! By the end, included were God, Adam, Eve, Satan (Snake), Cain and Abel, Noah, Moses, Prophets, Mary, Joseph, Caesar, George Bush, King Herod, Wiseman (just one), David, Solomon, Daniel, Shepherds*, Angels, Simeon, Jesus (baby and grown), Mary Magdalene and Mother of Jesus, Disciples, Roman Soldiers Angel and… and a boy from audience to represent today. (My son!) I think that’s everyone I covered!!
(And yes, my son was the boy who helped at the end. He did a great job!)
Note: I included a bit of the Cherry Hills opening to show how they do it, since they do such a great job and model how to start with a bang and lead into the teaching time with songs that start out upbeat and fun and gradually get more slow paced. It is a model of how it should be done. (I edited out their welcome time, it is extremely well done, but didn’t want to put visiting kids on YouTube without permission.)
There was A LOT to put away at the end! I didn’t even USE all the stuff I brought, later I kept seeing objects and agonizing, “Oh, I forgot that!”
This is a panorama, so click to view full size.
What have YOU done to bring the Christmas Story ALIVE for your kids?
*Note: I think during this second service recording I left out the shepherds… oops!
That smilin’ guy to the right? He helped lead my son to Christ and he wasn’t even in the same state!
How did he manage that?
Well, it was his music. And in particular the song “I’m Follin’ Jesus.” (Free download below.)
Here are the lyrics:
“I’m Followin’ Jesus” (from the CD “GET OUT THERE!”)
words and music by ©2005 Rob Biagi/BMI
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!
What are you waiting for?
Download: I’m Followin’ Jesus (4.1MB MP3)
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.
It is strange having him gone for a full day of school now. I miss having him ‘bugging me’ while I am trying to work. Those interruptions were something I cherished. So now I work hard to be free for the limited hours I have in the afternoon/evening to keep investing in our relationship. All I can do is every day, is focus on being his dad today, for as many today’s as I have.
Oh, the ADVENTURES that still lie ahead! I love being a DAD!
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I had to hunt this down after one of the pictures was asked about on my Facebook page. I thought I’d go ahead and preserve it and share it for fun – though hesitantly, since I need you to know, it was in HUMOR, and I myself have been “cured” of my Mountain Dew addiction since 2009. (My name is Karl Bastian and I am a Dewoholic! But I’ve been sober for five years!)
Also, please know, I never actually gave my sweet baby any Mountain Dew! But I did find it funny that a baby bottle nipple fit perfectly over the top of a soda can, and had fun freaking people out with that fact!
HOW TO RAISE A DEW BABY:
They sure to grow up fast!