Circle with Disney – Peace of Mind in a Little White Box

Circle Product 3 circle-blue For the last few months, I have been telling anyone who will listen about a new product I have been beta testing. Without fail, after listening to me rant and rave about how awesome it is, they’ve asked me where they can get one. I would have to explain that it was still in testing and not yet available to the public. Well, I am excited to announce that is no longer the case. Circle with Disney is now available for purchase at meetcircle.com and you won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to buy one for your home.

What is Circle?

Circle with Disney is a device that reimagines how families use the Internet.  Managed through an iOS app, Circle with Disney is a tool that helps parents stay informed about their kids’ online activities and limit screen time on every device in the home, including smart phones, tablets, computers, and gaming consoles. Circle with Disney pairs easily with your home Wi-Fi and gives parents the ability to filter content, set a bedtime for devices, and even completely pause the Internet. Each user’s profile and settings can be completely customized based on age and parents’ preferences.

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Summer Fun School

SummerWell, for my kids last Thursday marked the last day of school and the beginning of summer.  Every summer we talk about how we are going to continue to exercise our minds during the summer in addition to all the summer fun activities.  Inevitably though, those plans go by the wayside and summer becomes primarily about relaxation and having fun.

This year in the Stocks household, we decided to bring some structure to the idea of continuing to exercise our minds and focus on specific things which will both supplement and expand on the kids school work as well as cover some things which they no longer teach in school that the kids need to know.

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The Ipad and Reading The Bible

ipadLast week I wrote about the importance of reading the Bible.  This week, I want to make another recommendation to you.  If you have an iPad, it should become your primary means for reading the Bible.

When I first got an iPad about 18 months ago (I wasn’t an early adopter), it felt like an oversized iPhone.  I wasn’t entirely sure what I would do with it, but I love techy things so I was excited to try it out.  One thing I was certain I wouldn’t do with it was use it as an e-reader.  I spend a lot of time each day staring at a computer screen in my day job, and I couldn’t imagine reading books that way.  Give me an old fashioned book with a highlighter, and I was happy.

As it turned out, I couldn’t have been more naïve.   Reading is in fact one the primary uses for my iPad these days.  I review pdfs on it.  I read my blog feeds on it.  I love the Kindle app and have several books store there that I use in preparation for children’s ministry lesson.  And, perhaps more than anything else, I love the ability to read my Bible on the iPad.  I use Olive Tree’s app.  To this day it, along with the ESV Study Bible, is still the most expensive app I’ve purchased, and it was worth every penny and more.  The ability to search the Bible, highlight as you read, tag things, keep bookmarks and so much more has made the iPad an invaluable tool both for Bible reading and study.  Commentaries are available for the text you are reading at the touch of a button.  Charts and graphs come alive as you see them side by side with the text.  I am able to keep my personal notes as I read right alongside any sermon notes I might take as I sit in church.  I haven’t counted, but I have upwards of 15-20 different highlighting colors (all customizable) to highlight relevant passages.  So, for example, all the different names of God are highlighted in purple.  Passages about children and families are in blue.  References to the Holy Spirit are in Orange, and so on and so on.  Each time I  read through the Bible, I add more an more highlights as God leads me to knew topics to study whether than be the love of God, fear of God, holiness or whatever else.  And, all of your highlights transfer between translations of the Bible.  My “go to” translation is the ESV, but I also have an NASB and HCSB in my Olive Tree library.

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Sauerkraut and Children’s Ministry–Stating the Obvious

A got an e-mail from a friend yesterday suggesting that sauerkraut does not get enough attention in children’s ministry circles.  At first I thought he was just nuts, but on further reflection, it occurred to me that there can be some similarities.

Dictionary.com defines sauerkraut as:

cabbage cut fine, salted, and allowed to ferment until sour.

I define it as the all permeating and nauseating smell that would great me from time to time when I walked in the house and my dad had decided it was time for “something different.”

I like cabbage, in fact my favorite food of all time if Stuffed Cabbage.  But, there is something about sauerkraut which is so off-putting that I can hardly stand to be in the same room when it is being prepared.

I’m not a picky eater.  I would probably be healthier if I were a little more picky in terms of what I would eat.  There is a very short list of things which I dislike so much that I just can’t eat them, and sauerkraut happens to be on that list.  In fact, I had been married over 10 years before my wife, on a whim, one day decided that she wanted sausage and sauerkraut for dinner one night.  She had no idea about my aversion to it.  Anyhow, she spent as long as it takes to make sauerkraut (don’t know, don’t care) and had it simmering in the oven (???) when I got home from work.  After 20+ years, that smell took me back, and not in a good way.  I tried to eat it that night, I really did.  The cabbage itself didn’t taste bad, but I just couldn’t get over that smell!  In fact, I can smell it today as I sit here writing this article.

So, what does any of this have to do with children’s ministry?  I asked myself that same question.  My first thought was of Isaiah 3:24 from The Message “translation” of the Bible:

Instead of wearing seductive scents, these women are going to smell like rotting cabbages;

That didn’t really fit though.  Here’s what I came up with.  The analogy might be a little bit of a stretch, but I think there is truth in it.

Our children’s ministries are like sauerkraut because, all to often, we allow them to ferment in their own juices.  We come up with a great plan, cast a winning vision and set the wheel in motion, then we allow our ministry to sit there fermenting in its own juices until it puts out an odor so pungent that people entering the building are just put off by it.

The moral of today’s story:

Don’t waste the cabbage of your children’s ministry by letting it turn into sauerkraut!

Disclaimer: Today’s lesson does not work well with the 0.34% of the human population who actually enjoys sauerkraut.

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Wayne’s Weekly Twitter Digest – 2012-03-25 to 2012-03-31

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Vote For Jenny Funderburke!!!

Vote Jenny

Last week, I posted my picks for this year’s 2012 Blog Madness Tournament.  I’m happy to say that three of my four picks advanced to this week’s Final Four with only Karl Bastian not making the cut (sorry Karl, I understand Gus was actually campaigning against you).  The final four is set, and it’s some hefty competition:

  • Jason Martin
  • Jim Wideman
  • Jenny Funderburke
  • West Coast CM (Anthony Prince)

So, today marks the official beginning of my “Vote For Jenny 2012” campaign.  I said last week that I hoped she wins this whole thing, and this week I am trying to do something about it.  I’ve been a fan of Jenny’s blog since it was called something like “Thoughts my Husband is Sick of Hearing” (I’m paraphrasing, but I’m pretty sure it was something like that).  Now rebranded “Kidmin Thoughts” and hosted at JennyFunderburke.com, I sincerely believe it to be one of, if not the, best children’s ministry blogs out there.  Jenny writes with a knowledgeable, and very approachable, style.  I am consistently edified and inspired by her thoughts and stories.

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