Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I've recently been going through all my children's ministry stuff in an attempt to get better organized for my next exciting kidmin adventure. In the process, I've had time to reflect, remember, and smile over the stuff I've gone through. Today, I want to take a look at...CPC Notebooks!

Long time readers of this blog know that I am an unapologetic, raving fan of INCM's Children's Pastors' Conference. I'm sure I can find things to pick apart--and there is a time and place for that--but I still believe it is the largest event of its kind that is dedicated to children's ministry. When I return home and unpack my bag, one of the things I like to pull out and wave in front of my wife is my notebook from the conference.  I'm really like a little kid who says, "Look what I got!" Ooooh.  Aaaah!

Whenever I thumb through these notebooks, my mind replays theme songs, set designs, speakers, and friends.  So here is a gallery of my seven favorite CPC notebooks (and you'll have to wait until the end to find out why I chose these seven).

2003..My first CPC. We used the "Building His Kingdom, Reaching His Kids" theme in our children's ministry for a while afterwards.

2004...I still have the hero puppets!

2007...after a two year absence, I returned.  Cool theme song.

2008....a reminder that it's "all about kids"

2010...instead of a snazzy 3-ring binder, we got a vertical spiral notebook. I confess: I prefer the 3-ring binders. However, it's what's on the inside that counts, content over cover, substance instead of surface, etc. etc.

2011....I can still hear the trumpet fanfare and sounds of Go Fish and Denver and the Mile High Orchestra reminding me that "we do what we do 'cuz we're solid to the core!" (1000 Teacher Tim points to any attendees who can remember what C-O-R-E stands for.  And Michael Chanley is not eligible to enter!)

2012...smaller spiral sporting the new logo (notice "Red"?). This was a bittersweet conference because it occurred after I left a 15 year stint as CP. But I have so many fond memories of people praying for and encouraging me.  One of the many things I love about CPC is the assurance that you're not alone.

So why are these my seven favorite notebooks?  Because these are the seven CPC's I've attended!  Yup, the rather simplistic answer to the question, "What is your favorite CPC?" is: "the one I'm at!"  And as the Lord leads and provides, I will be able to add another notebook to the gallery.

Monday, May 06, 2013


Our journeys this weekend took  us to the high desert of central Oregon, to the resort community of Sunriver. While I have visited the famous Village Mall of Sunriver, and while our high school youth group holds an annual winter retreat here, this was the first time I actually stayed in Sunriver. It's like a developed campground, only instead of tents, yurts, and rustic cabins, there are very nice one and two story houses within the tall pines and brush. I don't know what the base population of the town is, but it likely balloons during peak vacation times.

Not that we spent a whole lot of time indoors.  Our daughter, who celebrates her birthday this week, set the agenda for our travels. So after a power brunch at IHOP in Bend, we stopped by an incredible Christian bookstore, then the local Walmart so I could buy a cap (necessary equipment for long walks in the outdoors). And then came our first tour of the day:
The High Desert Museum is an expansive, indoor-outdoor museum featuring wildlife, Native American culture and history, and real life critters of all shapes and sizes.

My amazing photographic skills captured this fish making a jump upstream! Actually, this is a display just outside the doors of the museum.  The water is real, the fish is fake.

On outdoor tours, as in life, this is a good reminder
We attended a talk about Birds of Prey, then we visited the Birds of Prey Center

Thanks to a camera problem, I was only able to capture one bird of prey.  But see the American Bald Eagle that close was exciting.
The next day, with fresh batteries in the camera and another power breakfast to fortify us, we made our way to a local volcano.  Lava Butte is actually part of a whole volcanic system in the area. A narrow road that swirls around the mountain takes you to the top of the cone.

We're here!

It's hard to believe this magnificent vista resulted from such chaos

The gray strip is the highway. According to the literature, an eruption could have devastating effects on transportation.  Ya think?

Who's up for a ski trip?

Looking down the rim.  Lots of evidence of destruction, yet, the trees are still making a comeback.

Parking lot at the top of Lava Butte,  looking up at the lookout tower.

This is the parking lot, taken from the upper deck of the lookout tower.

This is tasteless and crude, but I laughed when I saw it (zoom in if you can't read the sign).

Our next stop of the day was a few miles away.  The Lava Cast Forest is a looping trail that takes you through an actual lava flow.

What makes this an interesting place is not only the sheer magnitude of devastation, but the number of "lava casts" along the way.

In simple terms, lava surrounds a tree and begins to cool.  Over the years, the tree dies and decomposes, leaving a tube like cave.  This one still had snow at the bottom of it.

This one was one of the deeper ones. My pictures don't do the tubes justice..they're actually quite interesting to look at.  And, of course, I get lessons from these "lava casts." First, the tree's ability to endure in spite of being surrounded by lava illustrates our standing in the midst of trials. Second, when the tree is gone, there is something ruggedly beautiful left behind.  What is our legacy when the trials have passed?
There was far more than sight seeing, of course.  Laughter, relaxation, reading (finished an entire book over the weekend!). It was a great weekend.  Thanks to my daughter for inviting us on a wonderful trip.