Do You Have Five Minutes?

Do You Have Five Minutes?

Here lately my minutes have been consumed with VBS prep as it’s just a few days away before we welcome hundreds of children and I lead a couple hundred teenagers and adults for the entire week. On top of VBS prep and follow through, there’s summer camp coming up, Promotion Sunday, launching a new format on Sunday mornings, communicating with small group leaders, parents, staff, boss, and the list goes on and on. I’m sure you can relate to this in your workplace as well.

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Remember When?

Let's play a little game if you don't mind. A little game I like to call, "Remember When?" Here's how you play: I'll ask you a question that starts with "Remember when" and you insert the appropriate response. Easy, right? Let's begin.

Remember when in that one season in your life when you had someone invest in you? 

Here's another good one: Remember when you felt like what you were doing was making a difference in someone else's life? 

Last one: Remember when you went to that big conference and wish you could bring your entire team, paid and/or volunteer? 

I hope you liked my little game of Remember When! I can't really answer questions one and two for you but I sure can answer number three.

Perhaps you were among the 8,000 or so ministry leaders at Orange Conference 2018 and left there wishing that your entire team could have been there. Well, there's a way to get the best of #OC18 in your backyard and be able to get your team there. It's called Orange Tour 2018 or #OT18 for short. For one day only, June 7, tickets will be the absolute cheapest that you can get them for an amazing $50 off. That's right, a ticket for #OT18 is only $69. That price includes lunch, incredible breakouts, engaging main stage speakers, plus the awesome opportunity to network with other great ministry leaders like yourself.

Don't wait, sign you and your team up today to take advantage of the lowest price available. 

www.orangetour.org

 

 

Orange Conference- Main Session 7 #OC18

Louie Giglio wraps up with the 3 day conference with an incredible version of What A Beautiful Name that includes the stars, whales, and birds singing this song of worship. Here's some great notes from his session: 

I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on You.

If we can just lift our eyes a little higher today…

Salvation always ends in worship.

Our destiny is worship. 

"It's always about God, it's always been about God, and it always will be about Him.”

Sin makes us dead, but Christ makes us alive. This is the Gospel.

Worship is a weapon because it gets our gaze back on the God of heaven.

Your not David in the story of David & Goliath… Jesus is David in the story of David and Goliath

God is inviting us to wake up and look up…

David knew that he wasn’t the “David” in the story of David and Goliath

When I am weak, You are strong.

Orange Conference- Main Session 6 #OC18

This session included the following speakers: Dr. John Townsend, Tom Shefchunus, Sam Collier, Reggie Joiner, Virginia Ward, Lee Jenkins, and Carlos Whitaker. Here's some great notes from these amazing leaders: 

We can do more together when we invite others to show us our blind spots- Dr. John Townsend, Tom Shefchunus

Why does every leader need to deal with their blind spots?

Blind spot- tendency I’m not aware of

4 common blindspots- perception of having to have it together, to put tasks before relationship, conflict avoidness, harsh judge

How to give someone permission to speak into your blindspot- If you see me doing anything that would drive my life, my family or my leadership off a cliff, can I trust you to tell me way ahead of time? 

We can do more together when we help others find their voice- Sam Collier

Kids want to be apart of something bigger than themselves. They want their voices to roar. It’s in you, it’s in me. We all want to find our voice.

How do we help the next gen to find their voice? 

A mentor shows up in critical times to speak relational truths. 

If you don’t stop trading your dreams for lust, you’re going to kill yourself.

Preachers inform, mentors transform. Mentors transform, sponsors platform.

We can do more together when we act like their problems are our problems- Reggie Joiner, Lee Jenkins, Carlos Whitaker, Virginia Ward, Sam Collier

If we don’t confront something, we can’t cure it. 

The asterisk on America is how we’ve dealt with race. 

The church should model racial unity in the whole world. 

I want you guys to have the conversation that you have when there isn’t a white person at the table. 

It is so imperative that the people of God have this conversation. @virginiaward

Go home and have this conversation at home. @loswhit Carlos Whitaker

As a minority, we live out of our history. - Sam Collier

We have our opinions, because our experiences and history are different. -Lee Jenkins

We have to learn each other and love each other. @Virginia Ward

What do we do about this? Read John 4 and how He dealt with a minority, a Samaritan woman

Listen to each other, we need you to believe us, befriend us, start to gain compassion (you care about people you know), stand up for us . Lee Jenkins 

 

Orange Conference- Main Session 5 #OC18

Here's some takeaways from this session featuring Dr. Deborah Tillman, Kristen Ivy, Reggie Joiner, Jon Acuff, Jen Hatmaker, and Kara Powell:

We can do more together when we give every preschooler a better foundation- Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy, Dr. Deborah Tillman

Why does community for preschool teachers matter? Teachers feel alone. 

We have to think of young children as little human beings. We really need to instill everything. We have to look at the whole child as a being. The more we sow into a child as a full being, the more will they reach that full potential.

Leave a legacy. Everybody in this room has the power to reach their divine destiny within themselves.

We can do more together when we help parents be more intentional at home. -Jon Acuff

Parenting is hard because sometimes it’s hard to be honest with people. 

Empathy- it’s understanding what someone needs and then acting on it. 

When a kid tells you a secret, your response is “thank you for trusting me.”

We can do more together when we help parents be more intentional at home -Jen Hatmaker

Barna tells us that by the time a kid/student is 29, 80% will be out of the church.

This generation of kids require safe spiritual environments where struggles are safe to be discussed. They have to be allowed to wrestle with truth without being shamed, or we will lose them. 

How can we value every single family, even if they are skeptical, wounded or have their arms crossed? 

You don’t have to be the coolest person they know. You don’t have to know the terms they know. You can get away with wearing pleated Dockers, you don’t have to be the most amazing teachers, you don’t have to have all the answers. Love your spouse, live on mission, show them how to love God as a grown up. Well done trumps well said.

Love the disruptive kid. When you invest in that kid, the one who drives you crazy, there is something good inside that kid. It matters. 

We can do more together when we help parents be more intentional at home. -Kara Powell

Does your church help parents win or does it help parents help your church win? 

How we see parents of students- chauffeurs, checkbooks, chaperones

If you want to change how parents see your church maybe you need to change how your church see parents. 

You don’t have to like every parent for every parent to have more influence than you. 

 

Orange Conference- Main Session 4

It's Friday morning at #OC18! This is a full day in the arena for main session speakers. On the docket for this session were Josh Shipp, Tom Shefchunas, Kristen Ivy, and Ryan Leak. Here's some key takeaways from each speaker: 

We can do more together when we create a safe place for kids over time- Josh Shipp

We don’t see you as a problem, we see you as an opportunity. -Rodney to Josh Shipp

Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story. 

Every kid is one choice away from being a statistic. 

What kids don’t talk out, they will act out. 

We can do more together when we create a safe place for kids who are different. - Kristen Ivy

When you get close to someone who is different than you, you see yourself differently.

When you get close to someone who is different than you, you see God more fully.

Truth is real, but perspective is different.

When you get close to someone who is different than you, you show the world what love is.

Our differences are an opportunity to show what unconditional love looks like.

We can do more together when we create a safe place for kids who are hurting. Tom Shefchunas

There is no strategy if there is no sacrifice. 

What did Jesus choose to say and not to say

How did He choose to say it

When did He choose to say it

Sometimes we have to sacrifice our felt need to say everything so that what is most important can clearly be heard. 

Wanting to be a safe place and being a safe place are two different things. 

Microphones and websites are dangerous things because we can’t see their eyes. 

We can do more together when we create a safe place for each other. -Ryan Leak

Friends are like elevators, they can take you up, or they can take you down. 

Following Jesus doesn’t mean you won’t go through storms, it just means that you have an anchor with you through the storms. 

"Lost and found people…have marriage problems. Unchurched people and church people…both have money problems. The outsider and the insider…often struggle with depression.”

What if we created weekend experiences for people that were in pain. Wouldn’t we find ourselves reaching outsiders and insiders?

What if we took the amazing grace that we offer to people who don’t know God, to people who do?

Pretending will never do anything for your soul and it won’t do anything else for anyone else either.

When we really get authentic, we become allergic to short responses. I’m going to become a person that doesn’t allow people to sweep things under the rug.

4 things- vulnerability, authenticity, confidence, grace

Don’t judge them, help them.

How safe do we actually want to be. 

#OC18 Main Session 1

What do #OGRJ, A Million Dreams, and the number 8,100 have in common? Answer: night one of The Orange Conference 2018. Infinite Energy Center was rocking for a solid 2.5 hours Wednesday night. Here are some key statements made by folks like Jon Acuff, Gerald Fadayomi, Danielle Strickland and Reggie Joiner. 

@jonacuff: We have a God who has said, "It is finished" not it is beginning. 81% of American's want to write a book, less than 1% actually do.

@geraldfadayomi: If you could only pray for one thing for the next generation, what would it be? Unity is not uniformity. It's setting our differences aside to make a difference.  

@djstrickland: We can do more together when we live like the future is now. The Kingdom of God is like the wedding in the alley.

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@reggiejoiner: We must be challenged to do something that we don't know how to do. Nehemiah didn't spend a month figuring out spiritual gifts. Nor did he say, "Go home and pray about it." Everybody Nehemiah needed was already in town. Chances are, hour future volunteers are already there, just ready to be put to work. 

YouLead Labs Wednesday PM Edition

The afternoon sessions of the YouLead labs were just as informative as the ones from the morning sessions. I sat in on a session about what volunteers want from their leader led by Gina McClain. She is such a dynamic speaker and has the ability to connect with her audience immediately. It didn't hurt that she had some really awesome Charlie Brown and Snoopy shoes on. Here are some key points she made in her breakout: 

How do you communicate when you delegate? Big Asks vs Small Tasks

A big ask is a mindset that conveys vision, clarify the win, and it’s going to have trust. 

Small tasks- You have a mindset that wraps around a detailed to-do list (has a micromanagement feel)

You have to find the right leader to delegate to. When people see what God can do through them, their level of commitment will astound you. 

How are you developing those you lead? 

Coaching is consistently keeping the vision in front of your volunteer. 

Coaching teaches your volunteers how to think.

Again, great stuff from @ginamcclain and I would encourage you to connect with her as she is just flat out, an incredible leader.

My second PM lab was presented by the Go Weekly team as they discussed created a social media strategy that can engage parents and help train leaders. This breakout was essentially a big plug for the Weekly tool that I use every week and has been an absolute game-changer in my ministry. You can find out more about Weekly at goweekly.com.

 

YouLead Labs Wednesday AM Edition

This morning consisted of two great breakouts all across The Forum at Infinite Energy Center. My first breakout was Navigating Infant Loss & Infertility, which was led by Kenny Conley. Kenny shared some hard to swallow statistics such as 1 in 4 pregnancies will end in miscarriage. 3 out of the 4 of those miscarriages end within the first trimester. As if those stats weren't devastating enough, 1 in 10 couples in the US face fertility issues. This breakout was totally relatable for me and was one that I was absolutely attached to since it was announced by the folks at Orange. You can see more of our story at www.ashersrainbow.org. Kenny plugged the Made Known resource that he and his wife Sarah helped create while serving in Austin, Tx. The church needs to find ways to better minister to this large population, in which, many fill the seats and pews of churches week in and week out with so many questions. 

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My second breakout of the day was Discovering What Volunteers Really Want- for Elementary Leaders, led by Bobby Ikebudu of Boca Raton Community Church. Here's a brief list of what Bobby shared: Every volunteer wants to follow a great leader, serve in a place that fits them, they want meaningful training (good food helps), they desire authentic community (we are made for community), they want to serve in a "we" type of culture, fill their bucket with vision, celebrate wins with big time fun. 

#OC18 is here

If you’ve attended The Orange Conference in the past, you know that Tuesday nights informally kick off the week with a Party on the Porch. Music, games, Kona Ice, your favorite Orange Specialist and hundreds of like-minded folks gather for two hours of fun talking, dancing, coffee drinking, snow cone eating, name badge and registration bag retrieving, Orange store shopping, excitement.

If you’ve not attended The Orange Conference before, perhaps catching a glimpse of all the fun is enough to make you want to attend next year. Get the dates on your calendar now as #OC19 takes place in Atlanta May 1-3, with the Party on the Porch kicking off the week on Tuesday night, April 30.  I’ll be blogging and posting interviews all week from various attendees and even hope to catch up with some of the speakers as well. I’ll also be live tweeting throughout the conference and you can follow along @dmaddron or simply by using the hashtag #OC18 in the search field.

Think Orange!

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The Countdown is On

In just a few days, 7,000 - 8,000 people will gather together in Atlanta, Georgia for three days of dynamic worship, teaching, networking, bridge building, note taking and Serious Night. That’s a lot of stuff to do in just three days, right? What is happening, you ask? It’s the 11th annual Orange Conference. 

 

That’s right, this marks conference number 11 for the team at Orange. And it seems each conference just gets better and better and folks from around the world continue to leave inspired and driven to make their ministries better, their communities closer, and the family stronger. 

 

Here’s a list of things that I’m looking forward to this year in no particular order:

 

YouLead Day- YouLead Day takes place on Wednesday morning/afternoon, and while it is an additional cost to the conference, it is a cost that I’ve deemed worthy of spending each year that I’ve gone. These tracks really dive into specific topics and have proven to be some of the best tracks of the entire conference. YouLead Day is all about equipping you in specific areas of ministry and is can’t miss type of content. If you have the opportunity to go, take advantage of it. You won’t regret it. 

 

The Resource Center(s)- The Resource Center(s) at The Orange Conference are amazing. I emphasize centers because there are numerous vendors set us throughout both buildings along with the impactful Phase Gallery. The Phase Gallery really helps folks remember how short our time is with our kids and that what we do every single day matters. An extra perk of the Resource Center(s), FREE COFFEE. Drink a cup or two for me, please!

 

Party on the Porch- Tuesday night, from 7:00 - 9:00 PM, it’s Party on the Porch. This is one of the best times to network and connect with folks including your Orange Specialist. You can pick up your name tag and goody bag on Tuesday night, play some awesome games, take some cool pictures with their amazing backdrops, and munch on some yummy Kona Ice as DJ’s keep the party pumping with the help of party host, Sam Collier.  

 

The Breakouts- The breakouts on Thursday are really good. You have a chance to hear from phenomenal leaders, learn how to align your teams (paid and volunteer), and how to make a greater impact in your ministry. Thursday is a great day at The Orange Conference.  

 

The Food Trucks- King of Pops, Chick Fil A, I could go on and on and on, but it’s hard for me to move past these two Atlanta staples. You need a popsicle from King of Pops and a chicken sandwich before you leave OC18! 

 

There you have it. Some of the many things that I am looking forward to at The Orange Conference. I didn’t even touch on Serious Night, because it's unlike anything else I’ve been apart of. That should whet your appetite and build some suspense! See you in Atlanta soon!

Thoughts from Children's Pastor's Conference Day 2

If you have been in attendance this week, say Amen to everything God has poured into you thus far. If you haven't been here, don't be discouraged. Hopefully, you are getting inspired enough to want to be present next year. Let's get into the day, shall we?

McNair Wilson was the morning speaker for the general session. He has done work with lots of corporations, both big and small, but the two that sticks out to me is his work with Chick Fil A and The Walt Disney Company as an Imagineer. I love them both for many of the same reasons, the way they treat their guests. I could go on, but you want to read more about the conference so let's proceed. 

Here are just a few key statements from McNair in the general session. 

What do you do best? Do you do it every day? 

Years ago is the place you can’t get to from here. Don’t beat yourself up for what you didn’t do yesterday.

All actively creative people:

  • Take risks
  • Challenge assumptions
  • Stay curious
  • See differently

Failure is evidence that you’ve tried something.

Ask the question: what has never been done before? 

Ok. There's just a bit from McNair. More from him in a bit as I also sat in on his breakout. That last statement though is worth us really spending some time trying to answer in how it relates to where we're doing ministry and our methods as children's ministry leaders.

Breakout #1- Effective Neighborhood Outreach led by Kevin Reynolds. The synopsis to this is being willing to meet kids and families where they are at. Build that relationship, get them wanting to come back for more, give them Jesus, and then watch them enter the doors of your church. So many churches are investing big time money from their budgets on getting people inside their churches for an event other than a weekend church service.

I think back to our own efforts as a church. This past Halloween, we saw 1,300-1,500 folks come through our doors. I measured that as a huge win except for the fact, a few days later, when our church doors were opened again, they didn't show up. 

If we are going to be effective, we must be willing to meet folks where they are. Have your church members offer up their front yard for some neighborhood engagement. Don't stop with the one time. Build it up. Build a team to lead that neighborhood group and then you, as the children's m ministry leader, find another neighborhood and another front yard. Before long, you've got a handful of cell groups throughout your community who you've built relationships with and hopefully they are stepping foot on the weekends at one of your church services. Jesus went to where the people were, and then they began to follow Him. Stop expecting unchurched folks to walk into your doors without you having invested something in them. Let them see that you care and then they'll show you how much they care!

Breakout #2- HATCH: Brainstorming secrets of a Disney Imagineer

Let me just start off saying, buy this book. You can find it on his website: mcnairwilson.com

I'm not paid to say that either. This book has the ability to change you, your ministry and your church staff. Order 20, and he'll throw in a free 30 minute Skype session with your staff. Let me just tell you, BARGAIN!

Here are a few notes from his breakout:

When coming together for a brainstorming session, consider following these steps: 

 

  1. Start a Fire- let people know what the meeting is about and hold it to about 3-7 folks
  2. Creative/Critical thinking (never do these together)
  3. Yes, and- always follow up with this statement
  4. No blocking/no wimping- must be a team player, nothing negative to be brought to these
  5. More ideas- don't limit the number of ideas you bring to the table
  6. Wild ideas- don't limit the craziness of an idea (McNair has helped create some great attractions at Disney parks all around the world) 
  7. Critical thinking- hash out the details here, storyboards, napkins, etc.

McNair went on to share a conversation he had with Dan Cathey, of Chick Fil A. Dan raved about the book Good to Great and asked McNair his thoughts on it. McNair responded with such a great question that we absolutely must consider when thinking about our ministries "What's after great?" We simply can't stop at great. 

My final thought of his to share is this: design spaces/events with the whole senses in mind (Sound, look, smell, feel, taste).

Incredible stuff I tell ya. 

Thoughts from Children's Pastor's Conference Day One PM Edition

Have I mentioned how great the worship has been this week? Being in the presence of the Lord with a couple thousand other children's ministry leaders has been incredible.  

Melissa J. MacDonald was the first of two speakers to take the stage Tuesday night. She is a great follow on twitter as well, in case you are not following her. @kidsconsultant is where you can find her in the Twitterverse. She is incredibly funny, fixing to be getting married, just had knee replacement while still in her 30's, and is a Jesus loving woman! 

Melissa opened up her time with us with this statement "God is present, and you are here on purpose." She then challenged conference attendees to partake of CPC18 and to not just be an observer. She made many more great points, with a few that I'll share here. 

How can you hear His voice if you never stop using yours? 

Stop telling kids to start doing what you’ve stopped doing. 

If you believe that you are made for “this”, then stop depending on yourself to figure it out. 

If you are made for this, then be honest with yourself. 

If you are made for this, there is nothing that comes your way that you can’t get through because He is with you.

Being broken, bruised or hurting doesn’t disqualify you from this, it really qualifies you. 

Melissa was great and I would highly recommend you take the opportunity to get to know her or bring her to a camp or training. 

Our second keynote was Beth Guckenberger. Beth and her husband Todd serve as Co-Executive Directors of Back2Back Ministries. They have a big heart for foster and adoptive ministries and themselves have raised ten children. Beth really opened her heart up to those in the room. Before leading us to take the Lord's Supper, Beth shared how we need to make room for Jesus when we find ourselves in stories that we don't make sense. I immediately connected with this point as I reflected how God has worked in my life through the death of our infant son Asher in 2014. It's nothing short of amazing in looking back at the work the Lord has done as a result of a lot of pain in our lives. 

Beth also reminded us that there is no place too dark or too nasty that Jesus wouldn't go into. Afterall, look at where He was born. He desires to meet everyone right where they are at, regardless of where they been or what they've done. AMEN!

I'll have more from CPC as Day Two kicks off!

Walt Disney World through the eyes of a Children's Pastor

Walt Disney World! My favorite place in the world, outside of my home with family! If you've been, hopefully, you feel like I do, but it's ok if you don't! I just love it here, and I'll share a few reasons why and how it relates to my children's ministry and yours. Let's get to it, shall we? 

First, Disney spares no expense to make guests feel welcomed and at home. For those of you who've been, you would agree, the company as a whole does so much to accommodate their guests. It starts with the option for a shuttle from the airport to your resort if you are staying on Disney property. They take care of your luggage so that you can enjoy a trip to the parks or perhaps just some downtime in your room upon arrival. Your luggage makes it to your room later on after you've arrived.

Now, how does this apply to children's ministry? We need to have the same mindset of making our guests and members feel welcomed every time they step foot into our children's ministry environments. Some of the biggest frustrations about getting to church is what happens in preparing for getting to church. Getting out of bed on time, getting kids dressed, eat breakfast, etc. You know the drill. Sunday mornings before leaving for church service can be some of the most stressful of the week. Let's not add to the stress by extending that chaos into our environments. Have welcome teams in place, make sure your security measures are the best they can be, greet families new and old with a smile, and share the love of Jesus with them as much as you can by what you say and what you do in the few brief moments you have with them in your environments. First impressions are everything!

Speaking of first impressions, it doesn’t take a Disney budget to make a great first impression on kids and families. The second thing to access is are your kidmin environments warm and welcoming or is there room for improvement there? The Walt Disney Company has an incredible team of visionaries, set designers, performers, and the list could go on. Disney hasn't spared any money in the stories they desire to tell in their parks. From themed lands to the music and details, they've sold you in their work ethic. They cut no corners and neither should we! Disney gives it's guests the very best they have to offer and we should be doing that for God and every family that comes into our environment. Give those families your very best, and they'll keep coming and tell a lot of people about why they are attending your church and sending their kids to your children's ministry environment. Create a theme for your environment. Take it as far as God allows. He won't bring you to it if He ain't gonna see you through it. 

Lastly, the presentation is as much about the experience as anything. As I was walking through Disney's Animal Kingdom, I would simply look around me and see how much detail there is in the work. From the plants and greenery to the concrete work to the costumes and presentation of the different rides or shows, every bit of these things matter. How we present ourselves to guests or regular attendees matters. How we present the lessons matter. The language and terminology matter. Find unique and innovative ways to present your lesson. Don't rely on the same old thing all the time. Switch it up some. Bring in new faces. Create large group sets. Theme your small group rooms to go along with the lesson. Get your small group leaders pumped up about being there on a cold, dreary morning. Have something for first-time guests to take home with them that represents your children's ministry. Maybe it's a t-shirt or fun goody bag, find ways to connect with those kids. They'll want to come back and bring their friends with them. I keep wanting to come back to Disney World. It's because of the presentation.

Give God and your families the very best and watch what happens. 

Beginning 2018 with a Bang!

Hello, 2018! It's nice to meet you! So far, you've been pretty good to me although it's been a bit cold! 

It is a new year with new dreams and for a lot of us, a new direction in ministry. For me personally, I've been praying for some new innovation in my ministry and it hasn't taken long for that to happen. 

Have you ever tried something that many folks look at you and say, "what are you doing?" Well, that's where I'm at this week. I am trying something that for many around me, seems so foreign but in my mind, it makes so much sense. I am hosting a vision casting meeting online. 

You may be like a few others around me who really put that idea into question. I get it. It's really out there "ideas" wise but that's part of the reason I believe in doing this meeting online. It's so outside the box. It's innovative in my environment and yet, folks can be in the comforts of their homes or wherever they find themselves to attend. Here's the really bold piece to this, not only am I hosting it online, I'm doing it on Facebook Live. WOW!!!!! I know, I know. CRAZY!!!!!!!!!

Here's my basis for this, folks are on Facebook, right? The folks that I want to reach the most are on there and if I can pull them together for just a few minutes on a Thursday evening, from the comforts of their home or wherever they find themselves, then I am winning! It's unconventional and perhaps may be a total bust, but it's the best place to gather the folks I've targeted, it doesn't cost me or the church anything from a staffing standpoint and I get to share with this targeted group my heart. 

So, 2018 is starting off with a bang for me. I'd love to hear from you on how 2018 is starting off. What are your thoughts on my meeting plan? How are you being innovative in 2018? 

Giving the Gift of God's Word at Christmas

I received an unexpected phone call recently that provoked me to question every gift I've ever bought my children. The phone call was from a local organization asking if our organization (Asher's Rainbow) would be willing to provide Bibles for two local families. Of course, we would that's what our organization does. You can read more about Asher's Rainbow here

In speaking with the CEO of this organization, she mentioned that the children specifically asked for God's Word this Christmas. The children were living in less than stellar housing and after learning a bit more about the families, these bibles might be a combination of just a couple of things each child receives for Christmas. WOW! No video game systems, phones, dolls, or a myriad of other highly popular gifts that parents wait hours for outside a store on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday. No super fancy shoes or clothes or makeup or perfume. God's Word. These kids want God's Word for Christmas. Just soak that in a bit. 

I feel so ashamed as a parent because my kids aren't yearning for a new Bible this year. Now, there's also nothing wrong with the bibles they each own, but to just sense the hunger, literally for God's Word has stopped me in my tracks. My closet is full of high dollar presents that my kids will no doubt enjoy and yet, the Lord saw fit to open my eyes a bit more by providing His Word for two families. POWERFUL! 

Merry Christmas y'all! I don't say that sarcastically although, in the back of my mind, I won't be viewing our time around the Christmas tree the same this year. I hope that your eyes, ears and heart can be opened this Christmas just as mine was.