You Gotta Love Kids

I love my kids – I mean I actually love my kids.  It’s more than just your normal, I’m a parent and I love my kids kind of love.  I love my kids as people.  They never cease to amaze me, humor me and bring joy to my life.  No doubt, there are tough times too, but the good far outweighs the bad.

Case in Point

At dinner the other night, my four year old asked me how old God was.  I, of course, launched into a theological discussion about the eternality of God and preexistence of Christ.  Upon further reflection though, I realize why Nathan was really asking.  We had spent the last weekend at a birthday party for my best friend who just turned 40.  I’m not far behind.  It turns out that Nathan wasn’t interested in the eternality of God so much as he was interested in figuring out who was older – God or Me.  Like I said, you gotta love kids!

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Reflecting on Life Changing Events

imageTonight’s post I write with both a heavy heart and a fresh appreciation for the grace of God.  For me, this weekend was the juxtaposition of both joy and sorrow all undergirded by the strength and sovereignty of God.  Let me back up and explain.

Friday evening started off well enough.  We were headed to Nathan’s favorite park to celebrate his fourth birthday.  We had a picnic dinner, the kids played in the sand, and Nathan rode his bike until darkness set it.  All in all, it was a fun night of celebration as a family.  When we got home that night, my wife was checking her e-mail (or maybe Facebook) and found out that a member of our church had been in an accident while in Costa Rica on a missions trip.  There was not much detail in the message except that an accident had happened in the water and that a member of our church, Dean Stoecklin, had been without air for several minutes and was, at that point, on life support.  I knew who Dean was mainly because his two older kids (they have four) have been in our children’s ministry for the last couple of years.  The oldest is going into 2nd grade this coming fall, and the second oldest into 1st grade.  They have two younger children as well. 

On Saturday, we had a family picnic/graduation party/birthday party out of town to go to.  While the day was fun (we played way too much volleyball), the Stoecklin family still weighed heavily in my mind.  I prayed for them often, and checked Facebook frequently for updates.  Each time that I checked, the news seemed to be more and more discouraging.  As I posted at some point during that day, I felt the weight of Romans 12:15 throughout the day.  Romans 12:15 says:

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An Exciting Update on My Thank You!

Given the article I wrote this morning, I wanted to update you all with some exciting news which I first wrote about this afternoon in the Kidmin1124 – December 19, 2010 Newsletter.  Here is what I wrote:

This coming Wednesday is my appointment with a neurosurgeon regarding my back pain.  I thank you all for your continued prayers and support.  I pray daily for God’s healing, but above that I pray that His will be done.  Thank you for your continued prayers for me and my family through this difficult time.

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A Thank You to the Kidmin Community

Thank YouI don’t generally post articles on a Sunday, but God has laid something on my heart over the last several weeks.  I felt like I needed to write about it.  As Christmas fast approaches, it is a great time of the year to reflect on those things we are thankful for.  First and foremost, of course, is that God condescended and took on human flesh as a baby in a manger to lead a perfect life and die on the cross for my sins only to rise three days later to conquer sin and death.  That is the thing we should all be most thankful for, but there is so much more, and I wanted to pause for just a second this morning to offer thanks.

When I first started blogging about my work in children’s ministry almost two years ago, I was amazed at how open and inviting the whole children’s ministry community was.  The camaraderie exhibited by the children’s ministry community, on and off line, is like nothing else I have ever come across.  Over the last couple of years, I have developed relationships with a number of kidmin people who, though I have never met them in person, I consider friends.  That said, I was not prepared for the outpouring of prayer of support that I have received from that community over the last several weeks.

You see, a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, I started to have some back pains.  Having just gotten past a fairly long battle with a bulging disc and a pinched nerve, I was a little concerned, but I chalked it up to normal back pains and the physical therapy that I had been doing.  Unfortunately, the pain continued to get worse, and I have been pretty much flat on my back since then.  The point of this article is not to complain or whine though.  I am confident that God is control, and he knows what is best.  I serve the Creator of everything and a great physician who is capable of doing his will. 

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Dark Week Recap

Plug So last week this time, I was in the final day of my seven day Go Dark week in which I turned off all electronics for the week other than some predefined exceptions (at work, etc.). This is the second summer that I did “Go Dark” week and the experience, though similar in many respects, also was markedly different.  I suppose first though I should start by confessing my shortcomings.

  • Late Saturday Night my wife needed help with work she does for the High School Sports program.  They were having a meeting Sunday afternoon, and she needed the accounts reconciled before then.  I had planned for everything I needed to do, but I didn’t plan for what my wife needed.  I had to turn my computer on for about a hour to help her with that.
  • There was one day where I was expecting a personal e-mail, and I ended up checking my e-mail more often than I had laid out in my original plan.
  • I didn’t remember what I said in my rules about text messaging, and frankly I haven’t gone back and looked.  I did send a handful of messages to my wife by text message during the week.

There, I feel better now having admitted that.  So, what did I do with my Dark Week?  I read! I read a lot.  Just for fun, here are the books I read:

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My Birthday and the Book of Judges

image Today is my birthday.  I’m not one that gets too caught up in, and consumed by, my birthday each year.  It’s kind of fun, but i don’t get nervous as it approaches, and I don’t really care about adding another number to my years.  In fact, this year I hit 38!  Happy Birthday to me!  Other than the normal “I can’t believe I’m almost 40, where does the time go?” type feelings, I don’t really obsess about my age.  People always used to tell me that I acted older than my age, and I figure that I’m just now getting caught up.  That said, I do use the occasion each year to reflect on my life a little bit – where I’ve been, where I am, where I want to go, and most importantly on my relationship with Jesus Christ.

This week, as I was reflecting on those things, my mind started to wander to the book of Judges.  Now I have never stabbed a fat monarch through with a knife, killed 600 people with an ox goad, or driven a stake through a sleeping man’s head. I haven’t attacked an army of men with only torches and trumpets.  I’ve never promised to sacrifice my daughter in exchange for a victory in battle.  I don’t have long hair, and I’ve never chopped anything into 50 pieces and sent them as gifts to every state in the union.  That said, there is one verse that really resonates with me and my life from the Book of Judges (two verses really, but they say exactly the same thing).  Judges 17:6 and Judges 21:25 both read:

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

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