8 Years ago today.

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Eight years ago today one the kids in our kids church suddenly went home to be with the Lord. This lead to me to try and  reconcile  how a loving God could do such a thing. Through that process inside my heart of hearts I let go of God, only to find out He never let go of me. One of the means of grace that God used to help me understand the gospel was Sally Lloyd-Jones for that I owe her and Tim Keller a debt I will never be able to repay.

Every year on this day I am filled with sadness and joy because one day, one day. I will see Robert and his family reunited. That is my prayer that is my prayer every day but especially on this day.

BY THE HAND!

When you’re in the dark or on a narrow path, you need someone to lead you by the hand, to hold your hand tight. You need someone to rely on.

God says you can rely on him:

I’ve got you by the hand
And I’ll never let you go!

No matter where you go,
No matter what you do,
You always have
A hand to hold you.

I will lead you,
Guide you,
Keep you,

Even through death
I won’t ever let you go!
(Taken from: Thoughts that Make your Heart Sing, Sally Lloyd-Jones)

Ask Why and What not How

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In my desire to lead well I have very often asked the wrong questions over the years. I tend to lean toward asking how and not Why. Because how seems like it will get me where I want faster. At times this is true. The problem with asking how is it very often can short-circuit the process that sustains the very things I am desire to obtain.

I never saw this in myself until a kids pastor I respect greatly said “Sam, when you have a platform what are you going to say?” I had honestly never thought of that before. What am I going to say? I had never thought anyone wanted to hear what I had to say.

Yancy releases her newest Praise Party Album

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Yancy has a new praise party album coming out today. I received an advance copy and it is brilliant. My 2-year-old and 5-year-old listen to it daily. I love how Yancy is a role model for my girls that is more than positive she’s redemptive. When my wife puts on Little Praise Party for our girls in the car or at home it literally changes their attitudes, instantly. It’s crazy. What I love about Yancy is that she points my girls to Jesus. In a culture that is trying to get girls to find their worth in friends and their appearance if I can pour Jesus into the heart of my girls while they are young I’ll pay for that every day. But If you think her songs resonate with only girls you would be wrong, I love how write songs that boys would enjoy as well. There are several superhero songs on her album releasing today.

Personally what I enjoy from Yancy’s music is she always puts an old school song or two on her records. She gives them a new sound but keeps the simple Jesus centered truth firmly in place. On this new record that song is “I Love You Lord” simple profound and needs to be song by every generation.

I hope you support my friend Yancy and the great work she is doing if you are a parent or work with kids Yancy’s Little Praise Party “Taste and See” would be a brilliant addition to your kids worship collection. You get FREE SHIPPING with code: yancylovesme

If you are looking for something for your older kids check out Jesus Music Box is here.

Here is the promo video of Yancy explaining what Little Praise Party is all about.

3 statements new bloggers need to hear

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Writing is difficult. I often get asked how do I get started in blogging, and with so many blogs out there why should I blog? First of all everyone has something of value to add. The trick is learning how to unearth it yourself. People often know what they want to say but often don’t know how to say it. Here are a few statements that will help you get started and push through.

  1. Be yourself – Find your voice, write what you know, be transparent but not-self absorbed. The reality is that if you are learning or wondering something there is a good chance someone else is looking for information on the very same thing. There are others that have yet to face what you are facing now that you can be a voice to help them when they Google whatever is vexing them. For me the motivation to start my blog was the idea that I wanted to be for others what I wish someone was for me when I started in ministry. This has become my personal mission statement in every area of my life I try to be to others what I wish others were to me.

    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”- Oscar Wilde

  2. Be consistent – Consistent trumps frequency – The Aesop tale of the turtle and the rabbit is the best illustration of how people blog. Many are Rabbit bloggers who start strong and blog in spurs that are often months if not years apart. The turtle bloggers pick a spread and stick with it. For some people that speed is three times a week others it’s once a week. The goal is pushing yourself but setting a speed you can maintain. People get used to the amount of posts you do. I generally shoot for 3x a week. I don’t always hit that mark but most weeks I do.
    The biggest reasons people stop blogging is they run out of ideas to blog about. The best way to overcome this is to use Evernote and keep a rolling blog post note where you add random ideas as they come to you then try to come up with new topics when you sit down to write. If you can’t think of anything consult your rolling blog post note and take an idea off the list. What I have found to be true is the more I blog the more I find to blog about.
  3. Be Generous – Give more than you take. Give away your best idea. I have met bloggers who were full of amazing insight and ideas. I was really impressed I then went to their blog only to be less than impressed. The reason is they were afraid to put their best ideas out there. I am not sure why but whatever the reason it hurts you, your idea and your potential readers. When writing, or creating, whatever you do give your best ideas away.

    Do not hoard your best ideas. Good ideas are like the flu the more you spread them the further they go and the faster they come back to you. I have found that working through my ideas in a public forum has helped me refine and clarify my thoughts. It’s not until I commit my thoughts to paper on a consistent basis that I see for myself what it is that I am thinking about. Blogging or writing regularly in any way allows you to get out of you the things you think about more than you should. Once you see them and others see them you can tell what sticks and what doesn’t.

    “No one has ever become poor by giving” – Anne Frank

 

Free Bible Lesson 1 & 2 Corinthians: The Book of Giving

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Corinthians – The Book of Giving
Key Point – Why do we give and who do we give to?
Memory Verse – Proverbs 28:27 “27 whoever gives to the poor will have everything he needs”

Skit – Hal the hoarder – A guy who hoards what he has never gains friends and never blesses anyone because he is so worried about losing what is his instead of being a giver.

Skit – Mom and Son – there is a homeless looking man sitting on a bench a mom and a child walk by the mother hurries by trying to protect her son from the homeless man. The son stops and asks the mom if they can give money to the homeless man. The mom immediately says no. The boy then explains that in kids church he learned that God blesses those who give to the poor. The mom doesn’t really know what to say. She says what do you mean. The boy explains that the he learned in kids church that the Bible promises us that the more we give to the poor and to those in need the more God will bless you in every way. I want to give that man some money mom but Pastor Sam says that I have to ask your permission first and whatever you say we should do we will do. The mom thinks for a while and decides that they will go over and give the homeless man some money. They do and they share God’s love with the man. He is very grateful. The boy is very excited that God can use them. The mom says to the boy thank you for obeying God. I think that I learned something very important today. They walk off talking about how they can’t wait for the next opportunity to give to someone in need.

Object Lesson – Does God need our money? No, but he wants our hearts? The bible teaches our hearts and our money are connected. Bring a 20$ bill on the stage with you and ask the kids if you gave them the 20$ what would they spend it on? Boys prob video games Girls perhaps American Girl something or Barbie. We spend money on what we find valuable. When we give our money to God it says two things, 1. That he is infinitely more valuable than anything we can own. 2. That we trust God to take care of us better than we can take care of our selves, better than our parents can take care of us.

Object Lesson – Hold money in your hand very tightly show how hard it is to take out and then show equally how hard it is to put money into the hand.

Bible Story – Widows mite – it is not how much you give but how you give. What moved Christ heart was they widow gave all she had. In the same way God gave us his best in Christ. Our giving should be the extravagant response of a thankful heart. Realizing all that God has done for us in Jesus, makes us grateful and gratefulness results in generosity. Mark 12:42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

Puppet – Puppet confused because he gave a quarter to a poor person and he still doesn’t have 2 game boy advances. The MC explains that having 2 game boy advances is not necessarily something he need to survive. The puppet disagrees. The MC explains that God promises us that he will provide all our needs, but one thing we can’t do when give to people who need it. Is give with a wrong heart attitude, giving only to get.