How Do You Eat An Elephant?–Dadderdays

elephant

Before retirement, a friend of mine was a teacher and school administrator. When his students were faced with what seemed to them to be an overwhelming challenge, they would tell him that they couldn’t do it–it was impossible, and he would ask them this question, “How do you eat an elephant?”

Perplexed, they would give him the, “I have no idea,” look and after many wrong guesses, he would tell them, “One bite at a time.”

Today I was reminded of these words as I was listening to a Mark Driscoll podcast entitled, “Kiss the Feet,” where Driscoll explained that when he first became a Christian he asked a pastor what he should do now that he had made his decision. The pastor told him to go home and read the Bible–which Driscoll did. When he finished, he went back and asked what the pastor what he should do next.

The pastor told him to choose a book of the Bible and begin to study it. Read the book, read about the book, ask questions, and figure it out. Driscoll did just that. When he finished his first study, the pastor told him to keep doing that until he died. Good advice.

Reading and studying the Bible often seems to be a task equivalent to eating an elephant. I mean, really where do you start. I think my friend has the right idea–one bite at a time.

Bible study begins well, it begins with a beginning. Like any daunting task, you just have to start, and then you keep going.

Dads, if Bible reading and Bible study are a challenge for you, today I want to encourage you to rise to that challenge. The Word of God will change your life. It will change your family. It will change your children, and your children are looking for and are hungry for a dad who will lead them and guide them in the ways they should go.

dad and bible

It may not be easy for you at first, and you may have to admit that there is some stuff you don’t know. You may want to give up. But, please don’t. It will most likely lead you to places, decisions and experiences you never imagined, allowing you, your family and even those in your circle of influence to know God in new and deeper ways. As you seek out His Word and His heart, the chances that your children will grow up to do the same increase exponentially.

So take the challenge-one bite at a time, (or one book at a time), and have a great Dadderday today and in all your Dadderdays to come.

Five Reasons Why You Should Help Your Kids Learn The Books of the Bible–Taste and See Sunday

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Six of our eight Bible Book Champions!

Today was a celebrating day!

This summer HiSKidZ in our 9am service have been working to learn the books of the Old Testament and a key word for each book to help them understand what the book is about. Our first service class is a relatively small group of kids (maybe 15-20) in the 1st-6th grade. About half of them memorized the O.T. books and recited them today. Woohoo!

Next week, they will recite the books and the key words. I am so proud of those who dedicated themselves to the task. Age was not a determining factor, there were kids in every grade who accomplished their goal and they were rewarded today after church with a pizza and ice cream party.

morgan and jackson2

It would be awesome if we could get all our kids on board with this, and we are quick to note it’s not just about memorizing 39 book titles. We repeatedly remind our kids that learning the books of the Bible isn’t just so they can eat pizza and ice cream or to be able to say, “Hey! I know my books of the Bible.” There are 5 top reasons we think a child (or an adult) should know the books of the Bible.

Here they are:

1) It’s God’s Word. We need to know all we can about it. Knowing God’s Word helps us to know God.

2) Learning the books of the Bible helps those little Bible tabs we buy make more sense!

3) When we learn the books of the Bible, we can become more familiar with what’s in the Bible, which gives us confidence, rather than insecurity, when we need to use our Bibles.

4) When you know the books of the Bible, you can begin to find things in the Bible. When you can find things in the Bible, you can grow and you can help others to grow.

5) Learning the books of the Bible helps you understand God’s purposes for His people. (For example: Almost 1/2 the Old Testament are books of the prophets which reveals to us how much time God spent warning us of the consequences of our behavior. This, in turn, reveals to us how much He loves us.)

Learning how to use the Bible–whether in paper or as an app on a phone or a tablet–is a skill we, as believers, need to acquire if we are going to be able to utilize the gift we have been given in having God’s Word at our fingertips.

Youtube has a zillion great songs, rhymes and raps that can help you help your family gain knowledge, skill, and confidence in beginning to handle God’s Word. One of my favorites right now is The Bible Book Bop by the GoFish Guys.

Taste and See!

aubrey2

Umm, He Said the “S” Word–Word Up Wednesday

sunset

Ok, so I have to be honest right up front and say that this post has nothing to do with the picture above. But, the hub and I took the pic the other night (Well, he took it, I edited it) and I really like it. Plus, I’m writing this blog post as the sun is once again setting over the Mississippi.

Here’s what the post IS about:

I’m reading the Bible and there it is, through Solomon, God says the “S” word. Well, at least that’s what our boys used to call it–because they weren’t allowed to say “stupid.” So in not “sinning” by saying “stupid,” they would “sin” by tattling on someone! This makes perfect sense to a kid.

“Ummm, mom, he said the “S” word.”

I remember the first time our oldest said that about one of his friends. I became a bit concerned about what was going on in their 8 year old worlds. When I asked him what he was talking about, son #1 replied, “You know. He said “stupid.”

“Ohhhhhhh… I see. Well, OK son, he shouldn’t have said that. Go play!”

This evening laughed a bit as I thought about what my then 8 year old would have done if he had realized that Solomon said it, too. He probably would have thought, “He was probably influenced by all those wives and concubines.” (He was a bit advanced for his age in Bible knowledge!)

So what is it that Solomon though was so stupid?

The answer. . .to hate correction.

Yup! He who hates correction is stupid!

And the truth is, that’s pretty much the truth.

It’s also prideful. And of course, to be prideful, is well, stupid.

A teachable, humble heart is worth a lot. To be willing to accept correction, and let someone else help you adjust, redirect, and recognize that some change needs to take place is well, not stupid. Nope. It’s smart. In fact, not only is it smart, it’s genius! (Insert intern humor here. Don’t worry, she’ll get it!)

So Word Up! Take a little tip from Solomon and remember, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” (Proverbs 12:1 NIV)

The Kings’ Command–Word Up Wednesday

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Soooo, if you haven’t heard, (it’s all over my fb and twitter feeds) I’m at the North American Christian Convention this week. It’s a gathering of the folks from the brotherhood of churches that I am a part of. The main sessions are from the book of Revelation and they have been excellent–full of hope, promise and encouragement to stay the course until the very end.

Today was a great day–a day full of privilege. I was privileged to get to attend a session with my boss, eat lunch with a couple of my favorite 20-something girls, listen to a young woman who had shared in our church at a children’s revival over 10 years ago bless our socks off in song, meet my friend Sara’s newly adopted son for the first time, have breakfast with some fellow kidminners, have supper with some fellow kidminners, and attend a marriage session with Drs Les and Leslie Parrot.

I also was fortunate enough to sit through a leadership session with Wayne Cordeiro, pastor and author. He has written several books. The one I’m most interested in right now is The Divine Mentor: Growing Your Faith as You Sit at the Feet of the Savior. He had some powerful things to say about guarding our hearts and ministries and protecting ourselves from burnout.

One of the things that I absolutely loved about his session was that he shared a simple little scripture with us–a command to the kings–from Deuteronomy that I had never seen before. I just love when that happens. I firmly believe that it’s those little obscure verses that God uses to change our lives in powerful ways.

So to get to the point here (sorry, it’s been a long day), here’s the kings’ command.

“When the king takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left.” Deuteronomy 17:18-20a

I know we aren’t kings. But we are leaders, whether it is in our jobs, or in our churches or in our homes, and the premise still holds true: we need to know the Word of God and we need to follow it–carefully and humbly.

And even though I know it, and I am pretty careful to do it, for some reason today it just meant a lot to me to be reminded of how important it is to God. And I think for some of you reading this, it’s going to be important to you.

It will be an encouragement to stay in the Word, or to get into the Word or to get back into the Word. At least I hope so, because I know that of the kings who should have read this, very few did it, and the people they were leading suffered because of it.

Maybe it’s time you decided to live like a king, feasting on God’s Word.

Brother Cordeiro recommended to us to check out the site http://www.lifejournal.cc as a way to get started if you didn’t already have a plan in place. You may want to check it out.

Word up!

Nuggets–Word Up Wednesday

gold-nugget
Sometime He just makes it so easy to understand. And on those days, I am exceptionally thankful. You know what I mean? It’s like sometimes when I read Scripture, I’m just a little confused. Things don’t easily make sense to me, and I have to dig deep and search hard to understand the precious little nuggets of truth and inspiration in the pages of His Word.

But then there are other times. Other times finding a good nugget is more like when you were a kid and your parents took you “panning for gold” in one of those tourist places where you are guaranteed a treasure every time. Today was one of those days.

It was one of those days when I opened “Old Blue” and simple nuggets of truth seemed to spill from the pages–simple instructions for living in love. Simple instructions that are too easy to miss or misunderstand. Simple instructions that when lived out can make us truly rich.

Simple nuggets of truth that could change the world (or at least change me):

Hate what evil.
Cling to what is good.
Honor one another above yourselves.
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.
Share with God’s people who are in need.
Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Rejoice with those who rejoice.
Mourn with those who mourn.
Live in harmony with one another.
Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.
Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Do not take revenge, but leave room for God’s wrath.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.—Romans 12:9-21

Word Up Wednesday! Spend your treasure wisely!

Hypersmash.com

Putting Church Before Sports–Mama Mia Monday

sportskids
It’s not a rant. It’s not legalism. It’s just something to think about–I promise.

As a children’s pastor, one of the greatest challenges I face is inconsistency in the attendance of our kids and families. Knowing that at best we offer 2-3 hours a week for teaching kids at our church, and knowing that only a slim percentage of families attend all services, it is increasingly difficult to help instill Biblical truth in today’s kids. In increasing measure, the commitment to sports–practices, teams, games, competitions and tournaments is trumping commitment to the church–attendance, Bible learning, service and worship.

Although sports aren’t the only thing that competes for church time, it is a big contender. Here are 5 things you might want to consider before making the choice to choose attendance for sports and hobbies over your child’s attendance at church.

God says:
1) Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:25-27 Be careful that your habit isn’t games over meeting together with other believers. God understands this temptation and warns us of the danger in it.

God says:
2) For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 2 Timothy 4:8 God understands physical training is a good thing, but that it won’t last, but that godliness is a better thing and it will last forever.

God says:
3) Seek first the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness, then all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 God never says it is wrong to participate in sports, but He does tell us to make seeking Him the priority of our lives.

God says:
4) Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. I Corinthians 9:24-28 God understands our desire to win, but He also understands we are easily tempted to put the wrong value on the wrong trophy.

God says:
5) As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, … I Corinthians 12:20-25 God understands team. But church is a team, too, and when someone is gone from the “game” or from “practice,” it affects the whole team. Everyone is needed.

There’s a lot of pressure for our kids to do it all–to achieve and to succeed. But there’s a lot at risk, and there’s a lot of wisdom in the words, warnings and encouragements God gives us in making the wisest choices for using our time, setting our priorities and helping our children to learn to do the same.

Mama Mia!

Hyper Smash

Well, Slap Me Upside the Head–Freaky Friday

Psalm_141-5

Ever said these words?

“God just needs to slap me upside the head sometimes.”

I know I have, and although I don’t necessarily like it when He does, I’m always thankful. I know He will only use the “slap me upside the head” method when I have been unwilling to listen or get what He’s trying to tell me any other way. I know He does it because He loves me too much to let me keep walking in my sin.

Apparantly David understood that, too, and he also understood that God often uses someone else to do the slappin’ because in Psalm 141 verse 5 David says,

“Let a righteous man slap me–that is a kindness; let him rebuke me–that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it.”

Love, love, love that David, yeah King David, was willing to be taught and rebuked–even in some pretty drastic ways so that He wouldn’t walk in the way of the wicked. Extreme. Freaky. Courageous. Honorable. Honest. David.

David got slapped once. A prophet named Nathan had to do the slapping. But it changed David’s life, and it shows us today that following God doesn’t mean we have to be perfect, it means we have to be repentant. When I take those words to heart, it changes my life, too.

Extreme. Freaky. Courageous. Honorable. Honest. God.

www.hypersmash.com

What’s in the Bible–Thankful Thursday

whats in the bible

Today’s post is short and sweet! (Well, for me anyway!)

What’s in the Bible Church Edition curriculum is straight up something to be thankful for. Catchy name–What’s in the Bible–and it sums it up pretty nicely.

Hope you like nuggets, because here’s one you’ll love. A week ago, some of the 6th graders I disciple were meeting with my hub and me when I asked them what were their highs and lows of their time in our children’s ministry. Without a doubt, each one of them said that the What’s in the Bible lessons were one of their absolutely most favorite things about church. Yeah, 6th graders. Yeah, puppet teaching. Yeah, corny songs (okay that part may make sense!) Yeah, blew my mind, too.

Their reason??? They said it was because they learned so much stuff about the Bible, what it means and how it fits together–stuff that fit together with what they were learning in public school and it helped them know for sure that the Bible is true! BOOM!

Interestingly enough, a few weeks ago son #2 and his fiance, both whom are Bible college students, were visiting and helping in class. When class was over, they remarked on how incredible it was how much our kids knew–not just the facts, but understanding what it meant to their lives. DOUBLE BOOM!

So, to the Good Lord, Phil Vischer, Buck Denver, and all those on the What’s in the Bible team: Today, Thursday, May 16, I am thankful for you, your efforts, inspiration and faithfulness to help the next generation know, love and follow Christ.

phil vischer
I got to hear and meet Phil Vischer this winter in St. Louis. Turns out we actually used to live in his hometown of Muscatine, IA! Go IOWA!

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Some of HiSKidZ working together–(Go Unity and Cooperation!) to find out What’s in the Bible!

HyperSmash.com

Mock On–Word Up Wednesday

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About a week ago, I came across one of those little passages of Scripture that kind of blow your socks off. You know what I mean? The kind of thing that makes you think, “How come I never knew that was there before?”

At first I just thought it was a bit humorous. Then, I felt like it–to a small degree–gave me license for sarcasm. But now I’m seeing there is some great truth in these little words. You’re dying to know what they are, aren’t you???

Well, here goes:
In Job 21:1-2 Job said these words to his friends.

“Listen carefully to my words; let this be the consolation you give me. Bear with me while I speak, and after I have spoken, Mock On!”

Ha! Mock on! Who knew? I have to tell you that I absolutely love that Job was so incredibly honest with his friends. “Hey, guys, just listen to me for a bit, that’s the least you can do as I sit here suffering and listening to you go on and on. Just be patient a few minutes and when I’m done, go back and mock me all you want.”

I seriously laughed when I realized Job said, “MOCK ON!”

Now, the more I’ve thought about his words, the more I realize how much I like this attitude. I mean, technically, we should expect to be mocked anyway. We shouldn’t care what others say. We should pretty much see it coming and even rejoice in it when it does. Instead, we tend to let it derail us when people oppose us–friend or foe. Yet, God has given us forewarning that this is how it will be for those who follow Him.

Matthew 5:11 says,

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven.”

And Matthew 10:34 reminds us:

“Don’t suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”

So even from those closest to us, we can expect opposition. And because of Christ, we can say, “Mock on!” For it’s better to be mocked and be with Christ than to be find approval from others, yet be without Him.

The more I read, the more I understand how well Job knew that truth. Although Job had this paradox of understanding and lack of understanding all at the same time, he had great security in time of trouble because although he may have felt abandoned by God, he knew he wasn’t. Not only that, he knew that no matter what anyone said to him or about him, it couldn’t change one smackerel the things he knew to be true.

You may be facing some persecution today. Maybe someone is saying things that aren’t true, mocking your beliefs, or falsely accusing you of something. I hope you may take a little consolation in our friend, Job, and his now infamous, in my mind anyway, words–Mock On!

That’s the Word Up this Wednesday, May 8!

Hypersmash.com

A Gift from Jacob–Word Up Wednesday

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My friend Jacob goes to my church. He is a passionate little guy with a great zeal for life, and recently he gifted me with a little something he had made. Yeah, it’s the picture and writing above.

Needless to say, it knocked my socks off. First of all it’s just too cute. All of it, the spelling, the art work, the thought–over the top! Second of all, it’s just sweet. I mean, c’mon, he goes to my church and he LOVES church, “revivle” and HiSKidZ (the name of our ministry).

Not only that, Jacob filled his gift with appreciation, thankfulness and encouragement. Jacob, in his 1st grade way, reminded me of the things we are all supposed to be doing. 

Like it says WORD UP in Hebrews 3:13: 

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you are hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

Jacob did that, and his parents tell me that he did it of his own initiative–out of a heart that is overflowing with thankfulness, joy and excitement for the things and people of God.

It took him a little time. It took him a little effort. It took a little risk, and it reaped a giant return. Because there’s just no way I could be the same after being encouraged like that. Nope. No way. On that day of revival when he gave that to me, I was tired; I was sick; and I didn’t even know that I was in need of that encouragement. But God did, and He used Jacob’s gift to strengthen and encourage me for the night ahead.

Encouragement  changes you. It softens you, it makes you smile and it helps to keep you from being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 

So maybe today you will find the time to take God at His Word and spend a minute or two encouraging someone. I hope if you are a parent or a kidmin leader that you will find ways to help your kids encourage others introducing them to the life changing power of encouragement!