Blog Archives

Forgiveness Works?

At Kids Camp 2011, one of the counselors had an interesting interaction between two boys that were picking at each other.

One of the boys complained to the counselor who in turn instructed the camper to forgive the other. The boy looked at his leader, scowled and said: “No way! He’s not even sorry!” The counselor shrugged and moved on.

Inevitably the picking continued and the boy tried the counselor’s advice. He told the other boy who was annoying him that he forgave him. Instantly, the other boy looked down at the ground and said: “Sorry.” The boy was shocked and couldn’t believe that it worked!

The counselor was so excited that this young man learned a valuable lesson about forgiveness. Oh if we could all learn that lesson, eh?

Good job, Markus!


Can I Tell You a Story?

Just like the post below, I believe in the power of a story to teach. I’ve got to admit that as a young parent, it is easy to default to the “lecture” format, but I’ve found that telling a story, whether real or make-believe, has been very powerfully effective. My friend, Jesse Smith, shares some great insights in “Once Upon a Time”:

There once was a little boy…
Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far way…
It was a dark and stormy night…

We all recognize these beginning, they are popular beginnings for a story. They immediately peak our interest, there’s something coming, something interesting. Stories have power – they break down barriers, open our hearts, and get us thinking.

As a father, I’ve found that story is one of the best, if not the most powerful, tool I have. When my children have added to the rules, tries to pit mom against dad, or any number of things they’ve often heard a story. Sometimes it’s a story from the Bible and other times its from another source (or just made up) but the message is almost always clarified by story.


It’s not a lecture
As parents we want our children to not only understand the rules but the reason for those rules. Often our response to an infraction is overly wordy. At a time when the child just wants to escape your wrath a lecture falls on deaf ears – they just want out. A story opens a new world, a place to escape and a place where they have some control.

In a story there is a chance to explore both sides, a place to talk about solutions – a place for discussion.

When we have a culture of story telling, our children not only hear stories when there is a problem, but all the time. Stories stick with us and when a similar situation occurs, children have a better idea of what will happen as a result of their choices. They can connect to the characters and that starts of joruney oof wanting to model for others.

Stories are natural
Simply put, we’re wired to remember stories. Think about how easy it is for them (or you) to quote their favorite movie or show. They can remember what Blue weeks ago said but not what Mom said 7 seconds ago because stories naturally connect.

A Place to Explore
Stories promote thinking. They are a safe place to think about what loss feels like or what it means for a child to be disabled. Children can easily explore their emotions and behaviors without serious consequence.

If you’re looking for a place to start, I suggest that you pick up a few story books from your library and have a bed time story. If you feel like they might be too old for a bed time story, read the books yourself. Think about how the story flows so that you can begin to form your own stories so you don’t sound like you’re lecturing all the time.

Then, when you’re ready to go to a new level, pick up The Jesus Storybook Bible. This is, by far, the best storybook bible that I’ve read. It mad me cry more than once. It’s full of great models for our children and could easily become your child’s favorite book.

Another plus is that it’s more theologically sound than many storybook bibles out there. It’s not simply a collection of stories; it’s an overview of the primary theme of scripture.

How could you use stories in your home?

via Orange Fathers

Conspiracy of Absalom (story & video)

Conspiracy of Absalom - y2_w25

Absalom kills his half-brother, Amnon, then goes into hiding. After 3 years he returns, woos people to like him (and not his dad, King David) and then proceeds to perform a coup. King David flees, but eventually returns after his commander, Joab, finds and kills young Absalom.

Key Lesson of the Story? Sin has consequences.

Click Here to access the graphic novel “narrated” version of this story, otherwise, the LIVE teaching video is below:

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

Samuel Anoints David as King (story & video)

Samuel Annoints David - y2_w17

Samuel, while a little afraid, heads to Jesse’s house in Bethlehem in search of the next King that the LORD God wants to anoint. From the oldest, to the next six of seven sons, Samuel does not find the King God has chosen. However, little David is out in the fields with the sheep. He is brought in, God tells Samuel that this is the one, and Samuel anoints David.

Found in 1 Samuel 16:1-13

Look Like God?

The other day I was disciplining Sari about something and I was talking with her about “why” we (her parents) discipline her. I said something like: “We want you to grow up and be a girl who doesn’t hit people, a girl who is kind to other people and makes good choices. Basically we want you to grow to look like God, and Jesus helps us with that.”

While I’m saying that last bit, Sari’s forehead wrinkles and she says: “Daddy, God is a boy. I don’t want to be a boy!”

The Story of Jonah (video)

My Dad sent me this video yesterday. It’s the simple story of Jonah as we’ve all been told it. However, it’s the unique story-teller and expressive delivery that makes it such a fun video to watch!

Literacy and Media

I recently came across some interesting statistics. Sometimes you need to be careful with statistics because they can always be skewed to show what you want versus what a different side wants, but these are rather interesting… feel free to interpret them as you wish.

I’m pulling these statistics from “Shaping the Story: Helping Students Encounter God in a New Way” by Michael Novelli.


  • 58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school
  • 42% of college graduates never read another book
  • 57% of new books aren’t read to completion
  • Most readers don’t get past page 18 in a book they’ve purchased
  • A poll of 5th grader’s reading habits outside of school revealed that 50% read 4 min a day or less outside of school, 30% read 2 min a day or less, 10% read nothing
  • 80% of graduating high school seniors say they’ll never again voluntarily read a book
  • 65% of college freshmen read for pleasure for less than one hour a week or not at all
  • 70% of Americans haven’t visited a bookstore in five years
  • More than 20% of adults read at or below a 5th grade level – far below the level needed to earn a living wage
  • Half of US households didn’t purchase a book in 2001
  • Customers 55 and older account for more than 1/3 of all books bought in 2001


  • In 2006, the average American home had more TV sets (2.73) than people (2.55). More than 50% of homes have at least 3 working TV sets
  • On average, TVs are turned on for 8 hours and 14 min a day
  • The average adult watches 4 hours and 35 min of TV each day. Kids average about 4 hours
  • Children who have TVs in their bedrooms: 32% of 2-7 year olds and 65% of 8-18 year olds
  • 35% of children and teenagers have video game systems in their rooms
  • 72% of kids ages 8-17 years old report multi-tasking while watching TV
  • Children average 6.5 hours a day – more than 44 hours per week – in front of a screen (TV, computer, video game, and so on)
  • 35% of tweens (kids ages 8-12) own a mobile phone; 20% use text messaging; and 64% download and play music on their phones
  • More than 70% of Americans ages 15-34 use social networks online
  • Nearly 2/3 of teenagers – 63% – have a cell phone
  • Teenagers average 16.7 hours and adults average 11.6 hours of weekly internet usage
  • Americans aged 13-18 spend more than 72 hours a week using electronic media – defined as the Internet, cell phones, TV, music, and video games. Because teenagers are known for multi-tasking, their usage of devices can overlap

“The Bible” Motions

This year in our Middle School Youth group we have been journeying through the Bible. Our journey is chronicled on our website – click here.

One of the creative elements to this overview of Scripture is the motions we attribute to each segment of stories as we move progressively and chronologically through the Bible. Here’s what we have so far:

Gibeonite Deception and Rescue (story & video)

y2_w04 - Gibeonite Deception and Rescue

After the messup with Achan, the Israelites learned their lesson, right? Well, almost.

The peoples of the land of Canaan were afraid…and rightfully so. The Israelites were a conquering force with the God of heaven and earth on their side. The people of Gibeon decided to trick the Israelites, and they did because Joshua and the leaders did not consult the LORD. They made a treaty with Gibeon without knowing that they were neighbors. But a promise/treaty is a promise.

Later, the Gibeonites were attacked by the five kings of the Amorites because they had made a treaty with Joshua and the Israelites. And because of the treaty, the Israelites had to come to their rescue. But God was with them and helped them.

source Vimeo

Fall of Jericho (story & video)

y2_w02 - Fall of Jericho

This past Sunday, September 12, 2010 in Main Street, we continued our storying through the Bible in the book of Joshua. the Israelites were on the cusp of entering the promised and are poised at the Jordan River. They had already spied out the land and are ready to enter it.

The LORD guided the Israelites across the Jordan River much the same way He did for the Israelites a generation earlier with Moses through the Red Sea. The Jordan River parted and they walked through on dry ground. Joshua had one leader from each of the 12 tribes grab a stone from the river bed and made a memorial as a reminder.

Along the way, the Angel of the LORD met Joshua and gave him instructions on what to do when they reached Jericho (the first city in the land of Canaan that they would have to conquer).

At Jericho, Joshua gather the Israelites and told them to march around the city once that day. Then again once the next day. They did this for six days, each day marching around the city once and then going back to camp. The people in Jericho were really afraid of the Israelites because of what they had heard about them (that the LORD God of heaven and earth was fighting for them). On the seventh day, the Israelites marched around the city seven times, and at the end of the seventh march, the shofar horn was to blow and the people were to shout. When they did this the walls of Jericho came tumbling down! The LORD God was fighting for them. All God’s people had to do was listen and obey.

Jericho was destroyed and burned, all except for Rahab and her family who were saved because of the promise of the 2 spies.

Read Joshua 3:1 – 6:27
source Vimeo

Main Street | Sunday, September 12, 2010 | Year 2 – Week 2 | Fall of Jericho