Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Many of you have asked me what has been going on in my life and ministry since an earlier post indicated that my church was making some changes that might entail me having to leave children's ministries. First of all, I want to thank all of you who have prayed and expressed their concern. God's grace is truly awesome and amazing in the midst of some rather bewildering times.

Second, please understand that there are some things I do not want to share in an open forum such as this. I often joke with people that I have a lot of opinions and most of them are right! In the situation in which I currently find myself, I have some very strong opinions. I have had the liberty and grace to share some of those thoughts with the elder board. There is more to share and more to do to clarify this situation with our leadership, but I will have to wait for the right opportunity to do so. The very last thing I want to do is create a wrong impression about the church I attend or its leadership. We have an exciting body of believers that is poised to reach the ever-expanding population of our city. We have a group of men in leadership that I love and respect. One day, somebody reading this blog may visit our fair city and I'd love for them to visit our church without being put off by any criticism on my part.

"Okay, Teacher Tim," some of you are shouting at your pc's (or for a very small percentage of you, your macs), "Can you at least tell us if you're still in children's ministry?" The answer is, Yes. As it stands at this moment, I am still doing what I have consistently done for the last 12 years: personally lead the Sunday morning programs for our children. Soooo, instead of overseeing our five children's ministries, I am only overseeing one. And for the curious among you, this is not a punishment. I haven't done anything wrong. The church is in an ongoing development process to better minister to our ever changing community. One of the structural changes just happens to be in our Christian Education department.

The downside to this is not being able to find ways to tie all our children's programs together. While I have not been personally involved or directly leading each and every program, I've enjoyed providing support, encouragement, and training for all of them. All of those duties have been switched over to our Christian Education Elder of Children and Youth (who is also one of our KidServants on Sunday mornings and does an incredible job!).

The upside? Well, as the poker players among you would say, "I'm going all in!" I've always loved stepping outside the boundaries of "children's work as usual." My friends and colleagues over the years have opened my eyes to the wide world of children's ministries that doesn't rely on flannelgraphs and stale cookies. Now that I am down to one mission (Sunday mornings), I'm ready and eager to lay it all on the line for the glory of God and to the mission of "building His Kingdom and reaching His kids" (ahhh, CPC...providing themes that keep on giving!).

Things could change. I could get my old set of responsibilities back. Or the flannelgraph/stale cookie brigade could want their room back. In the meantime, I will "bloom where I'm planted."

Thank you once again for your continued prayers and encouragment. As the situation warrents, I will update you on what's happening on Sunday mornings.

Monday, August 06, 2007


I admit...I'm really a big kid at heart! The neat thing about being a big kid is that I also have a wife that puts up with a lot...and even, on occaisions, allows me to indulge in something for no other reason than the pure joy of re-living the excitement and joy of one's childhood.

First...a little history: a long, long time ago, there was a humble, 12" soldier figure known as GI Joe. With his authentic military gear, spindly, jointed limbs, and painted hair and scar, GI Joe soared in popularity. Unfortunately, politics affected marketing (something that rarely happens today..not!) and the outcry over the war in Vietnam forced Hasbro to give GI Joe a makeover.

Enter..the GI Joe Adventure Team: "five rugged men with lifelike hair. They're outfitted for action...and they take their orders from this man: the Adventure Team Commander (voice of Commander: "I've got a tough assignment for you.")." No, I did not look up that spiel: I remembered it after all these years! The Adventure Team was less military and more into solving mysteries and helping people. There was a Sea Adventurer, Land Adventurer, Air Adventurer, and Adventurer. And, of course, the Adventure Team Commander, who talked and was one of my most treasured Christmas presents! I also worked my proverbial tail off at a summer job in order to buy the Sea Adventurer--the last one in the store! But I never got the rest of the team (that honor was reserved for my friend Billy, who was content to bring his guys to join my guys to form one team until he managed to get all five figures himself but I'm not bitter, really!). My Sea Adventurer was lost somewhere on a mission. I performed a voice box-ectemy on the Commander because I wanted to try his underwater scuba set on him. Unfortunately, I never could get the thing to work after that. And like most of the toys from my youth, the Commander vanished.

I moved on. I actually began a real collecting hobby in college with the 3 /4 inch GI Joes. I developed a fairly large collection before the sheer economics forced me to give it up. But I always had a fond spot for the Adventure Team.

Fast foward to a short time ago. I was in our local Wal-Mart with my wife looking for supplies. I told her I was going to the toy section to see if there were any bargain action figures for my "Playtime Parables" (a low-tech teaching techique inspired by the Kidologist's "Toybox Tales."). That's when I spotted them. I blinked...I could not believe what I was seeing. Four of the GI Joe Adventure Team...in the narrow, cardboard boxes! Apparently, they were a limited re-issue or something. And they were incredibly affordable. I held off the urge to jump up and down in front of my wife and say, "Oh, please, oh please....can I, huh? can I, huh? PUHLEEEESE...I'll clean my room, I'll feed the dog." I have more dignity than that. But my wife, ever perceptive to the historical value of my interest (and no doubt fearful that I really would cause the above described scene), told me to go ahead and get them.
So all I need now is the Adventure Team Commander. And the three or four guys that joined afterwards. But since I don't know how long the re-issue will last, this might be it. But that's okay. After decades, I have the Adventure Team.

Thank you, sweetheart!


Summertime has been here...well, all summer! Unfortunately, various matters have cut into our family camp time. But not long ago, an opportunity arose to go camping. I even got to leave the office a whole half hour early to head up highway 62, past the little town of Prospect, and over to Union Creek Campground.

Union Creek is one of the larger campgrounds in a network of camping locations in the Rogue River National Forest. Unfortunately, because the campground was so full, we had to settle for a spot well away from the creek! But it was enjoyable regardless...family, good food, relaxation, and no phones, tvs, or radios to interrupt some serious study!

If Union Creek sounds familiar, it's because I blogged about an earlier visit in March. Actually, we never made it to the campground itself because of the snow. Not this time...sunny and hot!

Lord willing, we'll try to get another camping trip or two in before September.