We are pleased to announce, in conjunction with Living Outside the Boat, the first ever listener voted Bible Awards. Please take two minutes to vote for your favorites in each category (or add your own). Voting has been extended to next Monday, June 16 at 5:00 PM EST. Thanks for your help! Results will be announced on the Living Outside the Boat podcast next Wednesday, June 21, 2014.


DEFINITION: The Study of God as He has revealed Himself in scripture and Jesus Christ.

EXPLANATION: God is so big and so great and so awesome that we will never fully understand Him. God has chosen to tell us certain things about Himself in the Bible. When we study what the Bible has to say about God that is called Theology.


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imageMy kids are in Awana and have been for years. One of the great benefits of the Awana clubs, I believe, is that it encourages kids to memorize scripture. My kids seem to have a penchant for memorizing, and I have been amazed over the years to watch them inscribe the Word of God on their hearts. Indeed, much of the scripture I now have memorized has come through helping them with the Awana verses each week. As summer approaches, unfortunately Awana takes a break. On top of that school is out, and my kids have a tendency to walk away from things like memorization and learning not because they do not like it but because the opportunities are not readily available. So, each summer we try something to keep their minds working. Last year we focused grammar and sentence rules though we did peter out a little as the summer went on. This year, I am going to join them, and we are going to focus on exercising the memory muscle of our brains through the use of a Catechism.

For years now, I have been fascinated with the idea of Catechisms and how to incorporate them into the spiritual life of me and me kids. After years of thinking about it, this summer I am going to bite the bullet and work through the New City Catechism with my kids, and I’m inviting you to join us! Catechisms have been used by Christians for centuries to memorize and write on their hearts the truth of scripture and doctrine. A Catechism is a series of questions for which prescribed answers are memorized and recited back in response to the question. The New City Catechism is a series of 52 questions.  You can find out more about the origin and use of the New City Catechism at http://www.newcitycatechism.com/intro.php. The beauty of the New City Catechism as opposed to other catechisms is:

  1. I trust the source of the catechism and that it is doctrinally sound.
  2. It is available as an iPad app (search for it in the app store). My kids love the iPad and just the fact that is available on that device will make it a little more enticing to them.
  3. It is also available online in a browser and as a printable pdf file if you are not an Apple person.
  4. You can track your own progress. Some of my kids are list kids. The fact that they can track their own progress is a definite plus.
  5. It offers both a “child” and “adult” option. We will be memorizing the same thing (though mine will be more in depth and harder – ironically, my kids have the better memories).
  6. It can be used by one person, but it is perfect for a family to learn separately then come together and discuss.
  7. The child version on the iPad offers songs and other options to help the kids and more in depth study for the adults.
  8. It’s shorter than most other Catechisms.

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DEFINITION: DOCTRINE means teaching or instruction. When people are talking about the Bible or the Church, DOCTRINE refers to those things which are taught in the Bible.

EXPLANATION: When people talk about Doctrine they mean those truths that are taught in the Bible and are always true.  For example, a math book might teach you that 2 + 2 equals 4. In the same way, the Bible teaches us that Christ died for our sins. That is DOCTRINE.

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Dabbling in Doctrine

Wayne —  May 15, 2014 — Leave a comment

Dabbling in Doctrine LogoWelcome to a brand new series here on Dad in the Middle. We’re calling it “Dabbling in Doctrine.”  For the last few years, I have been slowly compiling a dictionary of doctrine and theology written for kids and teens. It is still a work in process. I hope to complete it some day and make it available for public use, but in the meantime I thought I would pick some of the terms out of the list of 500+ items and explore them a little bit more here on Dad in the Middle.

One of my greatest joys in working with kids is teaching them about the deeper things of God. The purpose of this series is to introduce kids, and teens, to the idea of doctrine and theological terms in way that you can use on Sunday mornings or with your own kids any day of the week. While we will do a little more than just dabble, this series is not meant to be an exhaustive look at each term. If your kids are interested in doing that, kudos to you, and give me a call! I want to know your secret!

Each entry in this series might look a little bit different as we seek to find ways to make difficult concepts and terminology accessible and memorable to kids and teens. Each entry will include the term we are exploring and what I hope is a kid friendly (but by no means “dumbed down”) definition of that term.  Where applicable, we will also explore selected scriptures related to the term we are defining and additional scriptures if you want to dig deeper on your own. For some terms, we will talk about why it is important to understand the idea and even offer some ideas on how to help kids understand the topic better.  I welcome you leave comments with your own ideas for helping kids to understand the word or to let me know where there are issues with the definition presented.

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autonomyLast week, I unveiled my three bucket theory that attempts to classify most of the problems in our society into three broad buckets.  As promised, we will now delve deeper into each bucket.  The first bucket has been dubbed:


Sometimes we live our lives so immersed in something that it becomes harder and harder to even see. We might catch a fleeting glimpse of it in an advertisement. We might get a peak at it in the entitlement attitude of that young kid during the street. We might catch wind of it on the news as this group or that demands an apology for something someone said that offended them. However, I wonder if we had the ability to step back and get a bird’s eye view of the society we live in if we wouldn’t be amazed by the breadth and width of the first bucket which I have dubbed “radical autonomy.”

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My Three Bucket Theory

Wayne —  March 3, 2014 — Leave a comment

BucketsLots of people have a bucket list.  You know – that list of things you want to accomplish before you die.  In particular, lots of people my age start to think about their own bucket list as we age and start to think about things we want to do in our lives while we still have the time.  I started to think about buckets a few months ago.  The buckets I was thinking about were a little bit different.  I started to think about buckets in terms of classifying the zillions of issues that we face as a society.  I started to wonder if there was a useful way to classify or categorize those issues, or the cause of those issues.  As much as I like to think in terms of black and white, I didn’t imagine that any sort of rigid system of classification would work, but I did think that perhaps (just maybe) I could “shove” those issues into different buckets.

There are lots of issues that we face as a people and as a society.  Talk to anyone on the street or at a party about what they think the biggest problem we face as a society are, and each one is certain to have their own take.  Give them a few minutes and most will talk your ear off giving you their insights and take on what really lies behind all of those stories of woe you see on the news every night and hear from people at your church, at the neighborhood barbeque and at your kids’ sporting events.

As I started to think about all of those issues and the problems we face in our culture, I wondered more and more if there wasn’t a pattern to them. The more I thought, the more I started to sense some threads that ran through many of those issues. That’s where the buckets came in. I concocted this theory that all of these problems (or at least most) that take so many different forms can be broadly classified into three buckets.  Why three? At the time, there was no particular reason except that two didn’t really seem like enough and four seemed like too many.  I wondered if I thought through the issues and the causes of those issue if I could devise a system of three buckets (no more, no less) that would be specific enough to make sense and broad enough to cover 95-98% of the issues people may raise if asked (I left room for the idea that certain problems would not be classifiable even after thorough analysis).

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