50 Life Lessons I’ve Learned

Happy Birthday to me… a year later. I’m now 51, not a very exciting number. But last year I celebrated the BIG FIVE-0 by writing a book! FROM THE INTRODUCTION: Hello friends, I turned 50 today. I’m as old as Red Robin, Cracker Barrel, Tic-Tacs, Scooby-doo, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The GAP, Wendy’s, Sesame Street, The Brady Bunch and even the Internet. I celebrated by enjoying some down time in the mountains with my family. I decided to write out fifty lessons I have learned over the past fifty years. At first, I thought it would be hard to come up with fifty. In the end, I had to wrestle with which to delete. Some of these will be familiar – but I hope some will catch you by surprise and perhaps give you pause to consider them. Many of these were learned the hard way! Perhaps your learning can be easier by reading this! The sources for these are Scripture, my parents, friends, teachers, colleagues, and likely famous people I’ve either read or heard speak. I claim no originality to any of them, even as half of them are likely my unique way of expressing what I’ve…

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Led to Jesus by Candy

It was October 13th, 1972. I’ll always remember the date, because it’s my little sister’s birthday. Whenever my sister, Melissa, celebrates her birthday, I celebrate my spiritual birthday. Her physical age (no worries, sis, I won’t tell!) is my spiritual age! When my mom went into the hospital to deliver Melissa, my older sister and I were both sent to different homes to be cared for so dad could focus on Mom. I was only four years old. When I heard I was going to Candy’s house I was delighted! Candy Crowell was a favorite of all the children at church. Not only was she a sweet old lady who volunteered in the children’s ministry, but if you shook her hand on Sunday a butterscotch candy magically appeared in your hand! I can still remember her home vividly. I can imagine the front room, the kitchen two steps up, the table where I sat eating snacks, and even where the bathroom was. (Very important when you are four!) I remember the front yard filled with scattered toys over a scarce lawn, the scruffy hedges that formed the boundaries I had to play within, but most of all I remember the…

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What Will You Leave Behind?

Life is lived moving forward, but it’s good to look in the rear view mirror once in a while. WHAT WILL YOU LEAVE BEHIND? Recently, I did some off roading in the mountains here in Colorado. I came across old structures and enjoyed taking pictures of them. Hard to believe this old mine once produced gold! What a happenin’ place it must have been. The imagination allows you to picture this structure new and bursting with activity as men toiled to produce gold. Now all that remains is a pile of wood – a shadow of once was. I came across a few cabins, roofs long gone and one had a 20 foot tree growing inside. And yet, imagine when there was not only a roof, but a floor and furniture and people eating, sleeping, laughing and calling this home. It got me thinking. What will remain of my life’s efforts one hundred years from now? What ‘ruins’ will hint at how I spent my limited time here on earth? How have I spent my time and what mattered most to me? What will last and what will vanish without a trace? 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 says: For no one can…

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Taking the Path Less Traveled

You’d miss it completely if you weren’t looking for it. Most walked right past it. But we enjoyed a rare treat because we were looking for the path less traveled. I kicked off 2017 with a week of hiking in Yosemite National Park with a good friend. I lead the Yosemite Summit retreat for pastors every May, but we were eager to see this incredible place in winter. God blessed us with both fresh snow and temperatures that made hiking surprisingly easy as we stuffed hats, gloves and jackets into our backpacks… not needed! Ahead of time we did some research on the best spots to see in winter. We discovered a secret spot off the Upper Yosemite Falls trail that afforded an amazing view of the middle falls that otherwise are impossible to see from any other location. It was amazing! We marveled that the slight detour leading to this spot was missed by most, but at the same time enjoyed that the secret was ours alone as other hikers walked on by, just a few feet away and missed it completely. I won’t even name it here, its worthy of secrecy – but if you ask me in…

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Should We Promote Diversity in Kidmin?

I hope that this blog post will generate some honest, polite and important dialogue. I am not trying to stir anything up – but sincerely want to get your feedback on a question I got. Several months ago, I received the following question from a listener to my podcast: Good morning Karl, I am… (name and church removed)   I listened to your podcast, and absolutely loved it! Great job, keep up the great work that you’re doing for all of the professionals in the kids ministry world.   I did have a question, however, that I would love to see you address. The question is, “How do you encourage and promote diversity in your kids ministry?”   We are living in a day and age, that unfortunately, kids and families are exposed to the rise of division because of race and ethnic background.   How do you promote unity and diversity in the mist of these unfortunate events? This is a fantastic question – but I must admit, I had to really wrestle with it because the premise of the question bothers me, that we live in a day and age when, yes, there are a lot of events…

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