Thursday, September 27, 2012


I love the way music tends to stimulate our perceptions, speak to our inner being, and provide context to our memories.  There have been dozens of songs that bring back thoughts of days gone by: what I was doing and how I was feeling. There isn't a blog big enough to list every single song that has a significant memory attached to it, but I thought I'd share a sampling that come to mind and why they stick out in my brain.
  • "The Warrior is a Child" (various) It's very common for those in ministry to create a shell, an invulnerable shield that no outsider can pierce.  I've been there (and yes, I still tend to do it!): not letting people see my failures, my weaknesses, my seasons of self-doubt.  This song is a reminder that I don't have to hide these things from the God Who knows everything there is about me.
  • "Just Over the Horizon" (4 Him) This song spoke to me during a season of struggling to make ends meet (one of many such struggles) and wondering if the church I was pastoring at the time would continue.  At that time when I had no clue what the future held, what better reminder than an upbeat jazz-style song that speaks of eternal hope.
  • "Islands in the Stream" (Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers). Several songs from the early to mid 80's come to mind, mainly because I was working in a shoe store at the time and they played a pop station in the background. But I could count on "Islands" playing at least twice a day and knew that the second time it came on, that my afternoon shift was almost over.
  • "Frankenstein" (The Edgar Winter Group). This had heavy play during my youth. I remember waiting by the transistor radio with my portable reel-to-reel tape recorder waiting for it to come on so I could record it. I also remember long summer afternoons at the popcorn stand, which my aunt and uncle set up for me so I could earn money. Frankenstein was the highlight of my day.
  • "The Trumpet Shall Sound"  from Handel's Young Messiah: this selection is done by the legendary Phil Driscoll.  The Messiah is, of course, in the proverbial class by itself and the famous "Hallelujah Chorus" is one of its better known arrangements.  Interestingly, in the usual multi-hour arrangement, the Chorus is past the middle, not at the end, as often performed.  But I digress...Young Messiah is performed by contemporary (at the time) Christian artists.  But when Mr. Driscoll takes trumpet in hand and growls out "The Trumpet Shall Sound," it is like being part of a ride.  As the trumpet sounds and the tones escalate, I feel like my body is straining to leave my shoes.
  • "The mystery song" I don't know the title, I don't know the artist. I know the tune of the chorus and most of the song, but I have forgotten most of the lyrics. As for the tune itself, I wish I had a trained enough voice to reproduce exactly. You'd think after listening to it nearly every morning for the better part of nine months, I'd remember more of it. Hurtling through the early morning darkness in the southern Oregon fog, this haunting melody promoted peace (I contacted the local Christian radio station that I listened to. They have no idea what I'm talking about. No other Christian radio station knows either. I'm not crazy...really, I'm not...this was an actual song. Honest!)
  • "Building His Kingdom, Reaching His Kids" (Alan Root). You never forget your first...CPC, that is. This was the theme and theme song of the 2003 Children's Pastors' Conference, the first one I attended. Whenever I hear this song, vivid memories of the sheer impact this week had on me and on the ministry I had with children come flooding back.
As I said before, there are many, many, many more songs of which I have deep, significant, or fond memories.  What are some of your songs that have hit you in the past or present?

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Ever feel like saying what goes without saying, but you want to say it anyway because it's so good? This is a short post, but it's been going through my brain this morning:

Christians have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). God has given believers all things that pertain to life and godliness, as well as exceedlingly great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Please note:
  • Nowhere in these passages (or anywhere) does it say that there is a "child's plate" of God's blessings.
  • Nowhere in all of Scripture can I find a 4th Person of the Trinity: the Junior Holy Spirit that is assigned to and indwells kids.
  • When Jesus gave an illustration of the Kingdom, He didn't hold up Billy Graham, He held up a child.
Though it's been said many times, many ways, I'll say it anyway:

Kids are not the church of the future, they are the church of the NOW.

Monday, September 10, 2012


A few weeks ago, I wrote about "stations":interactive, fun, and/or educational tables that allowed the kids to play, learn, and build relationships (you can read about "stations" here).

As I was clearing out some things from my home office/man-cave area , I came across something that is a good example of an "educational" type station we used during a series on the life of Abraham.

 Just how far is it from our church in Eagle Point to the land where Abraham walked?  Let's find out!

 Middle and older elementary kids could do this very easily.  We mounted a colorful calculator with large buttons on a stiff piece of cardboard for the calculations. Of course, adults were there to help...and to talk more about Abraham!

The kids got to stretch a string between Eagle Point, Oregon and the Middle East. This exercise helped the kids realize that the events in Scripture happened in the real, geographic world.

 Some pictures helped illustrate what Abraham's world must have looked like.  Again, it illustrates the reality of the Bible.

This was inexpensive to make and was one of our more popular stations when we had it up.  It was well worth the time we spent at the beginning of our children's church hour.

What kinds of props, lessons, or materials do you use to bring the Bible to life?