Listen to the Silence

image When I was growing up, I liked to listen to Simon and Garfunkel.  And, no I’m not that old.  They were already past their prime years of musical production by the time I started to listen, but I did enjoy their musical stylings.  At one point, I counted the song, “Sounds of Silence” as one of my favorite songs.  Why am I telling you all this?  Because, this week, I am smack dabbed in the middle of my second annual Go Dark week.  If it has a CRT or speakers, its off this week, and even though I am actually writing this post about 50 hours before the week officially begins, I am comfortable enough with predicting the future to say that I am having a great time.

I plan on writing more about my observations next week when I turn the computer back on.  Last year I posted a single post the Friday before Go Dark week and left up all week.  This year, I had some article I wanted to share, so I went ahead and wrote them ahead of time and scheduled them for this week.  Plus, Friday marks my 500th blog post here on Dad in the Middle, and that just seemed like something I should acknowledge.  That means that, even though you’re seeing new content each day, I actually haven’t visited this site in several days by the time you read this.  And, check back Friday for a very special episode of Blossom…errr Dad in the Middle.

So, in the words of Simon and Garfunkel:

Read More

When the Angels Rejoice

Baptism I have always enjoyed the Parable of the Lost Coin from the book of Luke:

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” [Luke 15: 8-10]

I have always enjoyed the images of Angels celebrating every time someone enters the kingdom of heaven. Every time I hear a story of salvation or a baptism testimony, I get a mental picture of angels in heaven celebrating. The verse doesn’t say so, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Father, Son and Holy Spirit right there along with them celebrating right along with them.  This Saturday night, that idea of celebration takes on a whole new meaning for me.  This Saturday, at around 7:00 PM or so, my seven year old daughter will be baptized, and I can’t wait to celebrate along with the angels.  Now, mind you, they’ve already had their big celebration, as did I on a Sunday afternoon in April.  Here’s what I wrote about that day (April 18, 2010) previously:

On the way to church yesterday my 8 year old son (nine today – Happy Birthday Jacob), my seven year old daughter (Lyndsey) and I were talking about the gospel and being saved. My son (who is saved and has been baptized) asked how you know for sure that you’ve been saved (this was after a lesson last week on Thomas and how doubts are normal in the Christian life). So, we talked about the prayer of salvation and then we talked about how being saved is much more than just that prayer. We talked about the outward and inward signs of being saved like changes in attitudes, regretting when you do bad things not just because of the thing itself but because it is something God wouldn’t want you to do, etc., and we talked about how God changes us from the inside out. When we got in the truck to come home from church Lyndsey was kind of quiet then she told me, “I don’t think I’ve ever said that prayer.” I asked her if she wanted to, and she said she did but not until we got home and her brother wasn’t in the truck. 🙂

Read More

I Guess It Was Time

elvis9 Nine years ago this past April, my son Jacob was born.  It’s hard to believe that it’s actually been that long.  As a young boy (somewhere around 2 or 3), Jacob developed a strong affinity for two things: horses and dogs.  Along with that, Jacob is a talker.  I don’t mean that in any sort of bad way, Jacob has just always been talkative.  Whether it was yelling at people who wouldn’t talk to him in the grocery store when he was 8 months old, or making new friends with the people in the booth next to us at a restaurant when he was 18 months, or inviting our waitress at Bob Evans to come to our house for Christmas morning when he was four, Jacob has always liked to talk.  My reply when people tell me that Jacob talks a lot is always that he started talking when he was eight months old, and he hasn’t stopped yet.  As a proud Dad, most of the time I like hearing him talk (most of the time:)).  One of my great joys in life is listening to him to talk to other people about God.

So, what you might ask does talking have to do with horses and dogs?  Well, for roughly seven years now, I have listened to Jacob talk about how much he loves them both.  His obsession with horses was pretty easy to take care of.  Our house has a couple of acres of land, but we don’t have the facilities to have a horse, and Jacob accepted that pretty early in life.   So, every summer, he heads off to horse camp to renew his love for horses and riding and to get his “horse fix.”  Even when all his little friends decided that riding horses was for girls, he still held out and explained to them all about the cowboys and how he plans to move to Texas when he gets older and be a cowboy himself.  Like I said, horses were easy.

But, dogs, those infernal dogs kept coming up.  Every Christmas – every birthday – every time someone walked by outside with a furry canine, I heard about dogs.  I don’t dislike dogs.  I actually quite like them.  I tell people that, “I like dogs – other people’s dogs – a lot!”  But, I also enjoyed the fact that, at the moment, we were blissfully pet free.  No messes to clean up, no food to buy, no odd noises in the middle night – well at least none of the four legged variety.  I have a wife, four kids, a ministry, a job and a pretty busy life.  I struggle to find quiet time as it is, and the last thing I need to throw into that mix is a dog.  I’ve never actually owned a dog either, and I wasn’t entirely sure that I ever wanted to.  We grew up with cats, and I had a number of cats as an adult.  Cats are easy.  Give them a bowl of food, and let them think they own the place, and you’re pretty well set.  Other than changing the litter box once a week and feeding them, cats are pretty much self-sufficient.  Dogs on the other hand, oy-vey!

Read More

It’s Time Again – Announcing The 2nd Annual “Go Dark” Challenge

image I am happy to announce the dates for the second annual Go Dark Challenge.  This year, the challenge will begin at:

12:00 A.M. Saturday, August 14, 2010 through 11:59 P.M. the following Friday, August 20, 2010.

I hope you will join me in what has now become an annual event.  So, what is the Go Dark challenge you ask?  I’m glad you asked. 🙂  I started the Go Dark challenge last year as a kind of fast/break from the electronics which pervade our daily lives.  As I wrote last year,

I started to reflect on all the electronic gadgets that we fill our time up with every day.  We have TVs in every room, DVD players, IPods, Computers, the Internet, Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Newsreaders, Radios.  The list goes on and on.

Now, I am not opposed to technology.  I rather enjoy it!  Sometime though, I wonder if I am letting it consume me to the detriment of other more important things in my life.  To me, those things that may be suffering are my relationship and quiet time with God including time in his word, my relationship with my wife, my relationship with my kids, and my other reading.

Read More

What Are You Excited About This Summer?

image Summer is here, and if you ask my kids this is the most exciting time of the year.  This year, they are off at the beach for several weeks while dear old Dad is left behind to work and continue the normal routine.  That said, there are a number of things coming up soon which I am very excited about this coming summer.  I’ve written about many of them here before, but I thought I would list them out again here in chronological order.  God willing, these are the things I am looking forward to this weekend:

1. June 13 is promotion weekend. This weekend at New Life Church Gahanna, I get a whole new set of Kindergartners in my K-1 room, and I can’t wait.  We celebrated our new 2nd graders moving up last weekend, and we get a whole new crop to sow this weekend.  It’s always a fun time of the year!

2. June 14 is a significant day in the kidmin world.  That the day the free e-book What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry? is available in hard copy form.

Read More

The Doctor Is In

Last week there was a bug making its way through my house, and I don’t mean the kind with wings or umpteen gazillion legs or even beady little eyes.  This bug was more of the stomach variety.  My daughter was the first to show the symptoms on the weekend.  I got hit on Monday going into Tuesday.  Finally, on Wednesday, the bug finally won its battle and took out five people in one afternoon including my two year old.  Still reeling and feeling nauseous myself, I spent a good portion of Wednesday cleaning vomit and such (sorry for the details, but they’re integral to the story).  Anyhow, come Thursday I was sick (pun intended) of cleaning and disinfecting, so when my two year old son laid down with me in my bed to watch TV, I asked, “How’s your stomach feeling Nathan?”  He replied, and I quote, “I’m fine.  How’s your back doing?”

As frequently happens with my kids, I was floored by his response.  After some reflection, I walked away with a couple of important reminders:

1. Kids are more perceptive than we give them credit for.  Nathan will be three in November.  I don’t often discuss my medical problems with him, but he understood that his Dad’s back hurt.  I had my final of three shots of steroids the Monday before, and he was legitimately concerned with how I was.  Now, I’m a bit partial and a bit biased when I say that Nathan is a smart kids, but I think we need to remember that kids of all ages are capable of much more than we give them credit for.  If a three year old is capable of comprehending a situation like this and wondering whether or not things were all better, imagine what even older kids are capable of.  We should never, ever, underestimate a child’s capacity for understanding or compassion.

Read More