Monthly Archives: January 2011

Saul (and Jonathan) Die and David Becomes King (story & video)

Saul Dies and David Becomes King - y2_w22

Regime change seems to be difficult sometimes. It was no different in the early years of Israel’s monarchy. King Saul had reigned for a while, then was killed in battle. Normally one of his sons would be installed as the next king, but God had rejected Saul’s kingship and passed it on to David. As David assumes control of the country, some violent things happen. But eventually, over a period of time, David unites the entire land of Israel under his kingship and establishes the capital city of Jerusalem.

**Note**
This story is rather violent in nature. A lot of killing takes place.

Click Here to watch the version of this story we did 3 years ago.

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A Story about Boundaries

Once upon a time there was a young, misbehaving princess who was taken away from her royal parents by magic. Actually, she was taken by a person of magic: The Wise Woman. Through a wild set of circumstances, Rosamond (the young misbehaving princess) found herself in a meager, common home in a faraway country side, with a shepherd and a shepherdess. This was The Wise Woman’s doing. You see, she was wise, and new exactly what young Rosamond needed to cure her mal-nourished character of spite and spoiled-rotten-ness.

The day that Rosamond arrived in the home of the shepherd she acted out something fierce. When asked to do some basic household chores, she stormed out of the house screaming like the spoiled child she was. The shepherdess calmly spoke to an unusual dog named Prince to go and fetch this wretched child. Prince bounded after the former princess and drug her back against her will. Surprised, unsure of herself, and quite a little afraid of Prince, Rosamond proceeded to obey the shepherdess’ instructions and requests. It was amazing though, Rosamond and Prince got along splendidly after this first unfortunate encounter. They became fast, best friends.

Later on that day, Rosamond began to return to her old rotten self, and when she had a moment alone when she was out in the field, took it upon herself to runaway from this wretched family. “But she had not gone more than a dozen paces, when she heard a growling rush behind her, and the next instant was on the ground, with the dog standing over her, showing his teeth, and flaming at her with his eyes. She threw her arms around his neck, and immediately he licked her face, and let her get up. But the moment she would have moved a step further from the cottage, there he was in front of her, growling, and showing his teeth. She saw it was of no use, and went back with him.”

“Thus was the princess provided with a dog for a private tutor—just the right sort for her.”

“Presently the shepherdess appeared at the door and called her. She would have disregarded the summons, but Prince did his best to let her know that, until she could obey herself, she must obey him.”

And so it was “that so long as she neither lost her temper, nor went against orders, she might do almost anything she pleased with him.” …with Prince.

Quotes taken from “The Wise Woman and Other Stories” by George Macdonald

Watching You


There was a sermon that I preached a couple of years ago called “Watching You: Stewarding the Rising Generation.” I wrote kind of a plea at the end of that message that bears repeating:

There is so much more that I could and want to say about this subject. So many more specific things that I just couldn’t fit in to one message. I live this and breathe this stuff each and every day. And I am very passionate about seeing our children and youth be transformed by Jesus, living wisely, and responsible stewards of God’s ongoing story in the world.

One thing that I will say as your children’s pastor and as the community children’s pastor: Our world doesn’t pull its own weight in teaching and modeling to our children and youth about the ways of God. In fact it is horrible at it. Our culture is more interested in how much money it can extract from our student’s hands (via your wallet); creating and sustaining an insatiable thirst for more and better entertainment (TV, video games, theme parks, etc.); and keeping them busy for all of the waking hours in a day (sports, after school programs, events, clubs, etc.).

I’m not criticizing any one thing over the other (although there are some things that are inherently bad that we need to protect our children from).

The point I want to make is this: Our students are immersed in the ways of the world exponentially more than they are immersed in the ways of God. Remember: more is caught than taught.

Think:

  • how much does my family need to be watching TV?
  • how much does my family need to be playing countless sports?
  • how much does my family need to be kept busy all the time?

My encouragement as a children’s advocate in the Hayward community is be intentional with the time you spend with your family and make sure it is strategic. Make sure that something eternally important isn’t being missed in the pursuit of raising your children.

This isn’t a plea for more students to join our “church” things, although we are extremely intentional about how we immerse the students into the ways of God. Moreover, it is a plea to do something. Again, make sure something isn’t eternally missed in the fast pace of our lives.

I want my children to see their Dad on his knees often praying and seeking the LORD. I want the children in this community to follow my example, as I follow the example of Jesus Christ.

And you should want that, too.

They are all WATCHING YOU!!

I used these two powerful videos in the sermon “Watching You”:

The Kingdom Story


a come-from-behind-story of the King

Once upon a time, there was a King. Everything the King did was good. The people in his kingdom adored him and followed him as their King. The King found time to spend with each person in his kingdom. He loved everybody no matter what they were like. He had but one rule… This rule was put in place so that his people would have life. If they violated this rule, they would suffer the consequences—death. The choice was theirs.

One day, an enemy of the King snuck into the kingdom. He deceived the people of the kingdom by saying that they would not die if they disobeyed the one rule. They believed this cleverly disguised enemy of the King. The people broke the one rule. They chose death, not life.

How do you think the King felt when he found out that the people he loved disobeyed the one rule?

Probably sad.
Maybe angry.
Perhaps bummed.

He loved his people and did not want them to experience death. But the King was true to his word. The people violated the one rule and so they must suffer the consequences of their actions. They were banished from the King’s kingdom and died.

Read the rest of this entry

Discipline | What vs. Why


Sam Luce wrote a great post on the “why” of discipline versus the “what” of discipline. You can read the post here or below:

I don’t want to go down the road of what type of disciple you should do for your kids because every kid is different and every family is different. What I would like to talk about is the principles that every family no matter how old your kids are should practice. In my short 36 years on earth working with parents and then making similar mistakes with my own kids, one of the most common and most frequent mistakes parents make is asking “What did my kid do rather than Why did my kid do that.”

In every discipline situation we are forced to ask both of these questions. The question that is easier to ask is “What happened?” Asking what happened is appropriate but to really deal with the problem we have to ask “Why.” The classic story everyone has heard their pastor use as a sermon illustration (I’m not even sure it really happened) about the boy who was standing up on his chair in church. The father goes up to the boy and tells him to sit down the boy refuses the father says sit now or you will get a spanking, the boy relents glaring at his father the whole time. The boy sits down the father thanks him the boy responds by saying “I may be sitting on the outside, but I’m standing on the inside.” That is a classic example of “what” not “why.”

For all of us teaching our kids how to act is much easier than teaching them how to live. One of the things I am committed to as a pastor and a father is to teach my kids and the kids in our church how the power of the gospel changes us from the inside out. The gospel is about life transformation not behavior modification. As a parent having your kids do what you say is only the first step to leading them down a path to live the gospel. Whatever your rules are in your home it doesn’t matter, whatever your method of correction for wrong behavior it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you and your spouse commit to raising your kids asking Why did you break that lamp, why did you lie to me, rather than what did you just do.

When we correct our kids solely on what they have done we often send a message that what you did embarrassed me or made me angry. When you correct kids based on their attitude you give them tools to live a life focused not on acting or being a perfect person but you teach them that without God’s help we are hopeless, helpless and miserable. An example of this would be you call your son over he refuses to come you go to him grab his arm to talk to him he pulls away and knocks over your favorite lamp. You get angry discipline your son for knocking over the lamp. In doing that you send two signals. 1. Things matter more than he does 2. You want him to act a certain way. The result is not a repaired relationship of your son to you or your son to his Heavenly Father and most of all you rob your son of experience the grace of repentance and forgiveness. In exchange you teach him how to wear a mask and act like the very people who knew the law but could not recognize the Savior.

When you train kids to change their attitude with God’s help their behavior will change as a result of the consistent work of the grace of God in their life.

“Cast Your Cares” Seeds Family Worship (video)

I came across this music video a couple of months ago and have been playing/listening to it in the background before and after ministry events. It’s a really catchy tune and I love that it is a verse! I haven’t looked in to what else they offer, but this would be a neat way to connect memorizing Scripture with worship time. It would also be great music to have in the home as well!

Seeds Family Worship website

Bible Verse Hand Motions (video)

We have done this a lot the past couple of years with the Followers. We’ve combined kinetic movements with Scripture and it really makes memorizing fun and engaging. I’m curious if it sticks with the kids long-term, however; especially if you add new ones every week. Anyway, here are some tips to doing your own hand motions:

Tips for Bible Verse Hand Motions

1. Keep it simple enough for preschoolers. Each symbol should correspond to a phrase. Sign language can be helpful but is often too complicate for most kids to retain long term.

2. Make them fun. A little playfulness makes the whole exercise more enjoyable. In the example above the phrase “with all your soul” was supposed to be acted out with great enthusiasm. We even had children volunteer to see who had the most passion in their soul movements.

3. Re-use the same movements. Many Bible memory verses for kids will include similar concepts. Consistent hand motions will help with recall. We typically will point to heaven when speaking of God but make a nail sign when the word is Jesus.

4. Challenge the kids to invent their own. I try to include at least one motion for each verse where the kids get to pick their movement. In the example above the phrase “with all your might” could be rendered as a karate punch, muscle pose, or even dance move. I offered these options when kids first learned the verse.

5. Get ideas from others. You can find some on YouTube (here and here and here) but often your Sunday School teachers are the best source for these motions. Assign verses to different classes or small groups, then have them teach the whole children’s ministry.

6. Write them down or make a Facebook video for parents. Thee Bible memory hand movements are a great take home activity. Send a note with motion explanations so kids can teach them to their parents. You could also upload examples on video to you church Facebook page.

HT Ministry-To-Children

Nursery Heroes! (video)

As a parent who is almost done with the messy diaper changes, I laughed because I can’t wait to not have to do this again. I find it amazing that there are willing volunteers in our church nursery who do this on a regular basis with babies! What a way to kindly serve in one of the least glamorous ways!

David, Nabal and Abigail (story & video)

David, Nabal and Abigail - y2_w21

David encounters a “fool” (Nabal) and almost succumbs to a rash decision. Thank goodness for Abigail!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Packers in Superbowl XLV!


I love football season (both college and professional)! The TV is on all day on Saturdays and Sundays at my house and it’s great!

I’ve never really claimed allegiance to one team over another (other than OU). Until this last Sunday. I’ve lived in WI almost 8 years now and I’ve enjoyed the rivalry between MN Vikings, GB Packers. and CH Bears. I don’t usually care who wins or loses, I just really enjoy watching football games. Until this last Sunday.

I don’t know why it took me so long… maybe it was because of how emotionally invested my wife and I were in who won in yesterday’s Packers vs. Bears game. Kind of like an out of body experience, I noticed myself really caring! I wanted the Packers to win! When something bad was about to happen to the Packers (as in their lead slowly slipping away) I would cringe and get all tense! Crazy, eh? So I guess I can’t ride the fence anymore. I’ve got to say that I really do care how the Green Bay Packers do in their games. And I want them to win the Superbowl!

**Note**
I just want to offer my sincere condolences to my friends who are fans of the MN Vikings or the CH Bears… maybe next year, eh?

David Spares Saul’s Life Twice (story & video)

David Spares Saul's Life Twice - y2_w20

King Saul was actively trying to kill David and he had numerous chances. In these two stories (1 Samuel 24, 26), David had a chance to end Saul’s life and chose to follow God and not himself. David would not lay a hand on the LORD’s anointed.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

David and Jonathan (story & video)

David and Jonathan - y2_w19

David is successful in whatever Saul sent him to do, then Saul got jealous and tried to kill David a number of times. In the process, David and Saul’s son Jonathan became best friends and looked out for each other.

This is the story of that friendship…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Statistics Visualized (video)

I found this video fascinating for a couple of reasons:

  1. I’m used to reading statistics in black and white numbers and percentages. Sometimes they are given in a graph or a chart. But never like this!
  2. We live in an interesting time where population growth is unprecedented (meaning: the world has never had this many people living on it at one time!). Coupled with staggering growth in population is that people are living longer, but not necessarily making more money. The disparity between the two – life expectancy/population growth and money is interesting to me. As a kingdom person, someone who is interested in what God wants to do in this world (redeem/fix/restore, etc), I’m intrigued with what role God’s people have to play in it all…

to make God’s kind of world?


@ msy YOUTH this past school year, we have been thinking through the statement:

“The Bible is about God continually working to fix this world through his kind of special people in order to make his kind of world.”

We’ve interacted with this statement by walking ourselves through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth and 1 Samuel. We learned how humanity came about, fell into sin, and needed to be redeemed. God started his redemption plan through his covenant with Abraham, which initiated the “special people of God” or his representatives on earth to show the world what he was like. God was going to “fix” this world through his special representatives in order to re-make his world.

This has been somewhat heady for middle school students, though we have had fun in the process. Right before the Christmas break we talked about how the author of Samuel was comparing and contrasting the boy Samuel with Eli’s boys, Hophni & Phinehas. It was an either or kind of thing.

I thought about the simplicity of that, and, conversely, the complexity of what we’ve been doing so far. I felt like we needed to take a sort of time-out to talk through what “God’s kind of world” looked like.

I came across a series entitled “Two-Faced” from LifeChurch.tv for middle school students. This series perfectly fit the simplicity of explaining what “God’s kind of world” looked like. And to this point we have done the 3 out of the 4 lessons so far.

As you can see from the graphic at the beginning of this post, we have two posters hung at the front of our room. One is labeled “Flesh” while the other is labeled “Spirit”.

The first lesson brought the topic of gossiping vs. encouraging (flesh vs. spirit), the second talked about the issue of stealing vs. giving (selfishness vs. generosity), and the third relayed the two opposing notions of lying and truth-telling.

These last 3 Wednesday night conversations have really brought some concrete and clearly labeled adjectives to what “God’s kind of world” looks like.

Skate City Trip | Followers (video)

Followers Skate City adventure outing, Sunday, January 16, 2011 from 12:30-5:00pm.