Thursday, June 28, 2007


Yes, you've come to the right place. After some deliberation, I have decided to drop the somewhat difficult to say "Kablooey, Kabaam, and KidServants" (which doesn't tell you a whole lot except that I like alliteration and onomatopoeia). I kept the "KidServants" designation and added that it's the "musings of Teacher Tim." All our DayCare staff are called "Teacher (name)." It just stuck with me to the point that Sunday morning kids use it, and several kids who are or were involved in our children's ministry see me on the street and call out "Teacher Tim!" I accept it as a badge of honor, particularly when I consider that I get to teach the greatest Truth of all.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Okay...let's start with the assumption that I'm not crazy. I am missing a song and I hope regular readers of this blog can help me find it!

The year was 1992. I had just moved from my last church in Colorado to an unknown situation in Oregon and I was still feeling the pangs of separation, home sickness, and "okay, Lord, now what do you want me to do with my life now?" feelings. I enrolled in a certificate program at a voc-ed college in the area. At the time, we were living with my in-laws, who had a fairly good sized house in the mountains. It was great...but I had to leave for school before the sun came up, often in the famous southern Oregon fog and mist.

My "companion" on my drive was the local Christian radio station. I could get the news, sports, weather, witty commentary, and music all on one station. And roughly the same time every morning, the station played the song. And that is why it is so etched in my memory. Why I can't remember who it's by is beyond me. But it was a real song and it always touched me no matter how many mornings I heard it!

Periodically, throughout the years, I have tried to find this song. But in spite of the awesome power of the internet to find the most obscure information available, I could not uncover a single clue. I tried the radio station and they don't have a clue. I tried some of the contemporary Christian networks. Zilch. Nada. Nuttin! Goose egg! It's as if the song never existed. But I know it did! And I need your help to find it.

The kids at the DayCare where I work love to get "Teacher Tim Points." So here's what I'm going to do: the first person to find this song will get 1,000 Teacher Tim Points. That's right...1000 genuine Teacher Tim Points just for finding this song and (in the process) confirming my sanity.

Here's the few lines I know of this song. It is a very haunting, gentle melody, sung by, I assume, is a female artist:
"I am waiting for the day..."
"I am searching for the time"
"Meet me by the eastern gate" (?)
In the background, a chorus is softly sampling "Nothing but the Blood of Jesus" and I think "Amazing Grace."

Aside from hearing me hum a few bars (trust me, you don't want me to do that), you now have as much information as I do. And thank you.

Friday, June 22, 2007

INTERESTING (a request for prayer)

Well....this is interesting.

Church politics and structures are a funny thing. I used to be a senior pastor, so I know how the murky waters of decision making tend to get slime on everyone and everything. I've seen colleagues in children's ministries get forced out of their positions on little more than the mechanisms of a new by-law. I've always been stunned and, at times, moved to tears by the unexpected move of a brother or sister from their ministry because of personalities and power.


Something's going on in my neck of the woods. It seems, interestingly enough, that the leadership wants to consolidate their structure. Okay...cut out the middle man, trim the bureaucracy, hurray small government! I used to be a senior pastor...I've had to endure three hour congregational debates on the color of the new wallpaper. Hey...give the leaders the ability to make some decisions. Amen and amen.

It's just that....well.....

It seems the authority, duties, and responsibilities of my office ("Children's Ministries Director") have been transferred to the elder over me. Interesting. I'm not sure exactly what to do at this point. I keep reminding myself that the ministry ultimately belongs to the Lord, but I am baffled as to why this decision was made. And maybe I'm wrong. I want to give this group of men the benefit of the doubt. God has placed them in authority over me and I do not want to sin against that authority. I'm in the process of meeting with them and writing them and trying to figure out this most interesting turn of events.

In the meantime, pray for me. If I'm wrong, or if the situation changes, I'll rapidly update my blog and set the record straight for all to see. Right now, it will be interesting to see what happens.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Yesterday, I shared the top ten people who have had the most influence, impact, or contribution to my life and ministry. It was a very personal list, a very subjective list. Most of you who read the list probably have no idea who any of these individuals are. That's okay...the Lord knows who they are.

Today I want to share another subjective list, this time of men who are no doubt household names or at least well regarded in their sphere of infuence. It's not an exhaustive list, nor is it intended to reveal my theological biases. The fact of the matter is, there are some speakers, teachers, and broadcasters I enjoy even though I probably disagree with half of their emphases.

The same disclaimers I shared yesterday apply here. These are men whose teachings, ministry, scholarship, and lives have touched mine. Some of them I have personally met. One other thing: I have deliberately not included links to their ministries. Any decent search engine can provide you with that information.

Ten Nationally Known Influencers
1. John MacArthur--with no flash, no gimmicks, John MacArthur holds the attention of Grace Community Church and the radio listeners with in-depth expository teaching. Not only have I personally been fed, but I have learned how to dig into a text and present it.
2. Chuck Smith--Chuck Smith is the father of the Calvary Chapel movement, but the heartbeat of his ministry remains the simple, clear teaching of the Scripture.
3. Jerry Falwell--love him or hate him, Dr. Falwell took a stand for a lot of issues that others did not. But through it all, Jerry Falwell was a pastor who faithfully shepherded the flock when it was a small group in the 50's to it's mega-church, mega-ministry status today. Reading his account of how he started each day visiting homes is still an inspiration.
4. Tim LaHaye--Dr. LaHaye is another giant of a pastor. He was one of the founders of my alma mater and I had the privilege of being in one of his psychology classes. At church, he unveiled the dangers of humanist philosophy in a series that shortly became a book called The Battle for the Mind. One of the last series he gave at the church we attended was on the subject of prophecy. It's no wonder the Left Behind novels sound so familiar--it's in my notes from Sunday evening services!
5. David Jeremiah--Dr. Jeremiah was the keynote speaker at our college Bible conference. Less than two years later, he was brought on as the senior pastor of the church (replacing Dr. LaHaye). As I watch the Turning Point program today, I can't help but think, "I got to be there for the beginning!" Dr. Jeremiah is another master communicator of the Word, with alliterative skills that rival the best poets. But my best memory of David Jeremiah was when my (then) fiance and I were sitting on the steps outside the college chapel reading Psalms together. A shadow fell on us and we squinted up. David Jeremiah had a smile on his face and he said, "That sure is a good Book, isn't it?" is...and I could tell that he really believed that too!
6. John Ankerberg--I've always been blessed by how John Ankerberg can systematically, step-by-step, weave an argument in defense of the Christian faith. Whether he is presenting a message or interviewing a cult leader, he gets to the heart of the matter in a way that leaves everybody nodding in agreement at how logically he's presented the facts.
7. Karl Bastian--my first impression of Karl was, "he's so young!" But don't let the age fool you. The reason the "Kidologist" (as he is known) is one of the premiere authorities on the subject of children's ministry is not only because he knows and practices his "stuff," but he has a kid mentality. I mean, who would have thunk that the theological paradigm of "incarnational ministry" could apply to the under-12 crowd? I've incorporated several elements I have learned over the years in my own ministry (plus I bought my very first Palm Pilot based on a stirring article written by Karl. )
8. Craig Jutilla--I had never heard of Craig Jutilla prior to a regional children's ministry conference I attended. I was just about at the bottom of my own ministry. I had almost made up my mind to resign from children's minsitry after I got home. Two things hit me that morning. One was a song by Mr. J entitled "I Am Child." The other was Craig Jutilla. Although I intellectually knew there was more to children's ministries than my little corner of it, Craig's workshops expanded my heart, my imagination, and my vision for children's ministries. Craig returned to our region once again a few years later and I've had the thrill of twice touring the children's facility at his former church as part of the INCM CPC (one year, the tour was facilitated by the above mentioned Karl Bastian).
9. Walter Martin--when my pastor gave me a copy of Kingdom of the Cults, I learned that, not only were there groups out there that were dangerous to the faith, but that there were reasonable, logical answers to those groups. Through the years, I've read books, listened to tapes, and thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Martin's Bible Answer Man broadcast.
10. Josh McDowell--one of my favorite set of classes in college was Apologetics, and one of my favorite writers on the subject was Josh McDowell. He's written and spoken on many other issues, but there are probably dozens of modern "defenders of the faith" who were first influenced by Evidence that Demands a Verdict.

Monday, June 11, 2007


"The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers...." (1 Corinthians 3:8-9a).

Ever so often, somebody will ask me, "Who has been the most influential minister in your life?" I have a difficult time with that question, because the answer for me is, "whoever I happen to come into contact with at any given moment." I glean, yea, siphon things from every ministerial leader with whom I come into contact. I learn different things from different teachers. From some, I draw insight into content of a Biblical passage. From others, I learn by watching how they conduct their ministries. And from others, I draw validation that maybe I'm not such an oddball after all! Some have stuck in my heart from my days as a senior pastor. Others have encouraged me as a children's minister. And others have fired my passion for pure study and research. So narrowing down such a company is a daunting task.

But having said that, I made a list of pastors, teachers, and leaders who have probably had a bigger impact on my life than most. What is my criteria? Uhhhh, well, it's pretty subjective. I'm sure there are men on the list that, during some other month, would have been included. Did they give me a direction in my life and ministry? Did they influence my personal philosophy of ministry? Did they intervene at a time when I had a deep need? Do I like their style? It's my humble opinon the whole way.

Today's post will feature men (and one woman) I know personally. These have had more of a direct influence on my life. The next post will feature some prominent, nationally known individuals whose books and broadcasts have helped me (and even then, there is overlap in that I have met and interacted with some of them).

Okay, enough disclaimers....on with the list.....

TEN WHO PERSONALLY INFLUENCED MY LIFE AND MINISTRY (in absolutely no particular order)

1. Phil MacIntosh--As the pastor of my home church in Colorado, Phil took a special interest in teens. He became a mentor and helped me understand what I felt was God's calling to the ministry. He gave up part of his vacation to drive me to San Diego for my freshman year of college. Discipleship ministries often refer to "Paul and Timothy" relationships. I think that sums it up.
2. Walter Flescher--the pastor who baptized me. He was an older preacher who came out of retirement to lead our home church B.P. (before Phil). Quiet dignity, strength, and humor that came from experience. I was stunned when he very nearly called down God's wrath on the school district for teaching sex education in the schools.
3. Jackie Wann--my first Sunday School teacher. wasn't until I was an adult that I could appreciate Jackie's volunteer spirit. She studiously prepared each lesson, drove the church bus, and even led the youth group. I never once heard her complain. As I got older, she even gave me a taste of children's ministry by letting me teach a third grade group at Vacation Bible School.
4. Wally Lundquist--the Honorable Wallace Lundquist was an attorney and later a judge, but to the kids, teens, and adults at church, he was Wally. A giant of a man, with a deep baritone voice, Wally could make the Scriptures come to life as he taught. But he also freely gave of himself to whoever had need.
5. Richard Niessen--it was tough picking a college instructor from my days at Christian Heritage College (now known as San Diego Christian College) because all of them exerted a great influence in one way or another. But Mr. Neissen was the apologetics and Bible instructor, whose deadpan delivery and in-depth knowledge captivated me early in my college career and fired up a love for Christian evidences.
6. Don Brown--he was my best friend's dad, but also a gifted lay minister. His wit, wisdom, and recollections can be enjoyed on his devotional site Parson Don's Garden.
7. Glenn Solum--this amazing man of God probably shook hands or had acquaintence with so many "big names" in Christianity, yet he himself was not well known. Glenn worked with Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators, and brought his discipleship skills to his ministry. He was the pastor of the "Family Bible Church of Orange County" (no longer in existence), my girlfriend's home church. Glenn encouraged me, gave me preaching opportunities, and recommended me for ordination.
8. Rick Lunsford--I didn't know Rick very long, but the brief time our paths intersected was incredible. Combining a deep passion for the Lord with an incredible enthusiasm and energy, Rick served as the assistant pastor of Family Bible (under Glenn Solum) before the Lord led him to Idaho to plant "Family Bible Church of Idaho Falls." Rick was on my ordination council and subjected me to some pretty intense "grilling." :-) Nowadays, Rick is involved in Gratefully Grafted ministries, a Jewish-Gentile reconciliation group.
9. Warren Cuppy--after Rick Lunsford left for Idaho, the church brought on Warren as assistant pastor. Warren wasn't in that position long, as Glenn Solum had started suffering the effects of a brain tumor. Warren and I spent a lot of time together, sharpening each other's theological skills and encouraging one another . "Cup" eventually became the pastor of Family Bible in Orange County and then later moved on to a church in Idaho.
10. Dick Bull--my current pastor. If you were to look in a dictionary for the word "pastor", I wouldn't be surprised to see his picture. Pastors love the church as a rule, but Pastor Dick loves the people in the church. His continuous encouragement has been a personal blessing through my time at EPCBC.

Monday, June 04, 2007


One of the highlights of the local school year (and of our family) is the annual High School Dinner Theatre. This is one the big events for the high school choir. My oldest daughter participated when she was in high school, and now my youngest daughter is carrying on the tradition.
This year's program was Broadway Today. My daughter assured me that these were "cleaned up" , family acceptable songs (good thing, as some of the content of some of these broadway hits was a little controversial to say the least.)
The evening started, as usual, with a dinner of baked chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans and a beverage. It's really quite good (although the plastic utensils throw off the ambience a bit). The meal is served by the choir members in full costume. Part of their grade is based on their outfit. Another part is based on the centepiece and placemats they design for the tables. The amount and quality of most of the outfits and decorations is impressive.
Elphaba, aka, the Wicked Witch of the West, with absolutely no resemblance to my precious little girl.

The program featured selections from Chicago, Momma Mia, Rent, and Wicked. I was somewhat familiar with the songs from Chicago, as many of them have entered pop culture thanks to the big budget motion picture (e.g. "All That Jazz"). Ditto with Rent. I had never heard of Momma Mia, but I discovered to my delight that the music was actually from of the defining pop groups of the 70's (yes, I've been humming "Take a Chance on Me" ever since...ahhhh, the memories!).

I had heard a lot about Wicked (the untold story of the witches of Oz), but beyond the plot lines, I was not familiar with the music. I was very impressed (especially with the choir's rendition of "Defying Gravity, which blended into a swelling, goose bump inducing finale.) Rumor has it that Disney will be producing Wicked as a movie. I'm interested enough to see it (although I'm not a big fan of musicals).

Hats off to the high school students and especially to their teacher, Mrs. Steinhorst. This woman (who also directs a church choir in our region) has a unique gift of drawing every particle of talent out of her students (much like a commercial juicer takes juice out of every piece of apple). And to see kids who used to pass through our children's ministries was an added bonus.
Three cheers for Dinner Theatre!