Be God’s Man in God’s Place

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I’m at MBI right now for a children’s ministry conference being put on by the seniors in the Children’s Ministry Major program. A major not available when I was a student. They are doing an incredible job. It is such an honor to be here. As I walked around the campus yesterday posting pictures to Facebook of the campus changes, and what’s still the same – it brought back a lot of great memories. It was actually pretty significant that I was here on May 2nd. 24 years ago, on May 2nd, 1990 – I got to go out to take the President of Moody Bible Institute one on one. I had valet parked his car a few weeks earlier and left a note inside asking if I could treat him out to a meal. When he called my dorm room a few days later, my room mate answered, and shocked said, “It’s the Presdient!” I answered, “Bill Clinton?” And he said, “No, Joe Stowell!” We scheduled our meal, and I picked him up at the “Arch” in my little Chevy Chevete and took him to the Rock n’ Roll McDonald’s, where I was the ‘house magician’ – and where …

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Old Gospel Tools – Same Timeless Message

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I’ve been creating ministry tools for as long as I can remember, even before I had a “job” where that was part of what I do. I’ve been going through some “old stuff” and came across some old ministry tools I created back in the type, tape, and photo-copy days of old! These were Gospel Tracts that I made to give to people I met along the paths of life. I’ve removed my address/phone from them (since they are defunct and don’t want anybody being called and bugged!), but the Message in them is as true as ever! Let me encourage you to check them out and consider creating your own evangelism tool. People always responded well to something I had written myself over mass-produced Gospel tracts, because they seemed to see I cared enough to make it and then give it to them. So they would often read it and engage in conversation, even if I wasn’t able to persuade them toward my faith – they opened up dialogue, and that is always a good thing! They learned what I believed, and I learned more about them. I had three versions for three levels of relationship and gave them …

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Time to UNPLUG and Reconnect

Have you ever wanted to UNPLUG from the hectic busy pace of ministry life? That is the entire point of Yosemite Summit. It is a week where you are unplugged in every sense of the word. No computer, no e-mail, no phone calls, no work, no deadlines, no ‘emergencies’, no pressure. Better than a day off spent catching up on personal things – it is a complete break for the sake of complete rest and renewal. I was once told by a very wise mentor, “Karl, you need to stop being a human doing, and learn to become a human being.” That is what Yosemite Summit is all about. It is an annual cessation of activity. Too often we confuse busyness with what God is truly seeking from us. Not that we aren’t busy doing good things! But we get so busy doing these good things, that our relationship with God can grow distant, and soon God is wondering, why or who we are truly busy for? Stopping, completely, once a year is an opportunity to recalibrate. It is a time for reflection and renewal. It is not a time of evaluating ministry goals and seeking a new “ministry vision” …

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Balancing the Sacred vs. Silliness

In kids ministry we try to connect with kids in order to reach them – Kidology is a philosophy of ministry that strives to minister to kids from within the culture of kids. In order to interest, engage and even at times (dare I say it?) entertain kids, we will do the craziest things, won’t we? Dunk tanks! Drop eggs from helicopters! Pies in the face! All manner of craziness and silliness goes on in children’s ministries. And this is good! But there is also a danger. We can risk losing the sacred. We can risk being flippant with holiness. And at some point, all that FUN needs to decrescendo down to some sacred seriousness, or else it loses it’s purpose and was all for naught. Fun isn’t the goal, it is a means to a greater end. We aren’t in the business of giving kids a great time. We are in the business of making disciples. Consider: “Don’t be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don’t reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you’re only being cute and inviting sacrilege.” Matthew 7:6 MSG I’m not going to offer the answer …

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