Monthly Archives: October 2011

if someone changed your life… what would you do to let them know?


ah. i love these guys. anyone that has ever heard my story will know that dr. jones played an integral part in my personal as well as my academic life, i often tell him he saved my life.

dr. clemmensen taught me in my college years but has become a treasured friend as i have become an adult.

both have taught me the skills i use everyday. they built a program that would equip me for every single thing i do creatively… they stretched themselves to meet the needs of the students in their care to an unbelieveable extent. they shared the love of story and taught me how to tell one… now, when i have an opportunity to get back together with them, they will never know how much it means that they always fit me in their schedule. we typically have dinner together and spend time talking and sharing about life. it is such a blessing and a privilege to call them my friends.

i hope that if you have someone that has meant so much to you, that you will go visit them. i hope you will invest the time in letting them know how treasured they are. i hope you get to eat with them. i hope you get to hang out with them. i hope you get to see one of them be giddy about a new found love, i hope you get to hear about medical scares and family dynamics. i hope your mentors will let you see their humanity, as mine have.


and i also hope… that when you are  a mentor to someone, you will eat with them, show them your humanity, hang out with them, invest the time.

with that… i’m off to head to birmingham, the magic city, for a journalism advisory board meeting… a wall of fame presentation for my dear friend George Smith… and dinner with Drs J and C!!


i wanna help.


oh how grateful i was to have another randall goodgame/andrew peterson album. great musicians. brilliantly intricately simple lyrics … it’s truti-ful. This album captures the mind from beginning to end, taking you on a joy ride of fun and silliness, driven by the gravity and force of deeper themes rolled out masterfully. From I wanna Help (free download), to I’m Adopted, and God Makes Messy Things Beautiful… just, wow. Prepare to go to church… even though it’ll sneak up on you.

one of the  song writers of this album, who lives in nashville, is randy goodgame, and he has become a great friend…

it all started when i went to his concert last year and was enchanted by the quality of kids music that he was sharing.

it was so wonderful to hear something that was actually really solid music and instrumentation, but it was written for kids. that doesn’t happen a whole lot. many times their music isnt given the respect that is shown in the S&B brand of music.

in fact, listening to these albums, and introducing them to others, makes me feel like i’m providing a cultural experience for my kids.

i often listen to the first album when i’m alone in my car… and now the second one as well.


BTW: i got to write a stage show to accompany his christmas album (Slugs & Bugs Christmas). what a privilege … i’m so excited about that, and we are in the midst of rehearsing it at my church – other churches across the country will be playing the show as well.

how young is too young for a salvation decision?

in the past week i have several opportunities to have a very similar conversation with totally unrelated people.

when that happens, there is usually something more going on. something i’m supposed to pay attention to. in this case, something i’m supposed to write about.

perhaps by now you are wondering what i’m talking about. i hope so, because that means you’re still reading. it’s the relationship we have with Jesus.

i’ve talked to several families who have young children that want to answer the call they hear in their heart from God… but their parents didn’t think they were “ready” or they just wanted to make sure. (i have a theory on this that i’ll get to in a minute). to be honest, it wasnt until i really dealt with this issue with my youngest child recently that i  sort of broke it down in my brain about what i think. although, if i look back, i know what i believe about it.

•i believe that when Jesus says let the little children come to me, he actually means it.

•i also believe that a personal relationship with Jesus – is just that, a personal relationship. its not something we can do for our child, though we wish we could… but given this idea,  i wonder why some parents think they need to stand in the way of it.

here are some ways to think about this whole idea that I think will help you understand that it is not about you, but about your child and the fact that they are able to hear God’s call:

-we begin to expect our kids to understand rules and obedience at an early age. at 1 1/2 or 2 we really expect them to understand our expectations and meet them. this expectation continues to increase as they mature

… why then, would we question whether they can understand the gospel when we present it to them repeatedly as part of training them?

-we know that our own relationship with Christ is personal, and not facilitated or allowed by another human – it is our personal decision to believe the truth in the Bible

… why then do we think that their personal relationship with Christ would be between you. them. and God?

-we worry about saying the wrong thing when we do talk to them about salvation

… why do we think this is different than anytime we are asked to share our testimony with anyone else? why do we think it has so much to do with US and OUR WORDS and stop trusting the Holy Spirit to be able to handle counseling our child (which is a child that God has allowed you to raise, but is His child first)

-we know that Jesus said let the little children to come unto me, and desires that we have “faith like a child”

… why then, when our child shows up with this faith that God himself talked about in the Bible, do we dismiss the validity of their decision or understanding?

-we tell them the truth of the Bible and the need for Jesus Christ as a Savior from the earliest lessons learned in preschool “GOD LOVES ME” to the progression of truths we share with them as they grow “I AM A SINNER and NEED A SAVIOR”

…why then, when they want to embrace this promise of heaven and freedom from the sting of death do we want to stave them off?

-we claim concern that they are only making a decision out of their fear of hell, instead of their desire for Christ

…can we agree that the Bible says that fear is the beginning of wisdom and that the disciples didn’t sugar coat the consequences of not receiving Christ. They were sharing with people about Jesus to rescue them from an eternity in hell. wasn’t your own decision to follow Christ born out of your desire to avoid hell? if that didn’t figure into your decision at least on some level, then we probably need to get together and chat… i have good news for you. Jesus came to save you from hell and give you access to heaven with Him. In this case, fear of not choosing God is a very healthy fear and a legitimate reason to choose to follow Jesus, it’s a fear He wants to see you.

Yes, life as a believer is a better life, but largely because of the peace that we get by knowing our eternity is secure.

This is one of the primary things that I think causes us to try to “hold off” their salvation decision: we had a time of questioning our faith in our own walk. we carry that memory and somehow think that maybe we our personal decision too soon, and didn’t know what we were doing, and that was what caused us to question. this is a subconscious thing that can create this reaction, but do you see the failed logic? do you really think it hurt you that early in life you had a tenderness and understanding of your need for Jesus… and this somehow thwarted your growth? i would say that the early decisions begin an eternal relationship that we will continue to grow and understand as we age. it has never hurt someone to have a personal experience with the God of the Universe. Think about this: you are a more mature believer now than you were 5 years ago, and hopefully in 5 years from now you will be an even more mature believer. So, too, will their understanding grow… but as a believer they have the power of the Holy Spirit to counsel them.

i heard the story this week of a child who expressed her desire to enter into a relationship with Christ and was told she wasn’t ready by her church leaders. they took it upon themselves to determine the spiritual state of her heart and the goal in this case was that the child began to hate going to church. she stopped telling her parents she loved them because she was learned from this experience to think that she wasn’t capable of understanding her own feelings.

i’m sure we can all agree that this doesn’t sound like something that would ensure that she would understand better later on, but rather hindered her growth for the whole time. she believed that she was in danger of going to hell for all of that time because she wasnt allowed to “pray the prayer”. i would contend that when she expressed her desire in her heart to follow Christ – that was the moment that she said yes and became part of the forever family of believers. it wasnt recognized or celebrated at the time, and caused an unnecessary time of pain and frankly endangered her relationship with the church.

now, i’ll tell you the story of my youngest child – she  was 5 on the Christmas day that this story begins. early that morning, before anyone came downstairs to see what Santa had brough, her sisters shared the gospel with her and told her they wanted to know she would be in heaven with them. she decided then that she wanted that assurance and the girls prayed with her. later they related this to me, but frankly, i discounted this experience, primarily because i didn’t witness it myself. (the older kids had made decisions at early ages, so it wasnt that i didn’t believe it was possible, i just didn’t see it happen so I doubted it).

so, fast forward to this spring (she is now 7, so she as at the end of being 6). blaikie told me she wanted to get baptized. i thought that was great but then i told her, well, there is something that needs to happen before you can get baptized. you have to acknowledge your need for Jesus and receive his gift of eternal life. she said she had. i said, well, i’m not sure about that. she started to bawl. she was devastated that i was questioning her faith decision. i regrouped and said, ok, tell me about it then (still with skepticism) and she proceeded to recount for me the moment that she said yes to Jesus. I said, ok, well, you have to tell Pastor Jason and then we will know that it’s  legit and we can see about getting baptized. she was irritated that i would ask her to take more steps before accepting the truth of her decision. i suggested that she write down her experience (for both of our sakes)


Last summer, I was leading a camp for some kids. In one group in particular, the parents specifically asked that we not share the gospel because they didn’t want someone besides them to be there for their kids’ decisions. I understand the parental desire, on one hand, but on the other hand… IT”S NOT ABOUT YOU, IT’s ABOUT THEM AND THEIR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST.

if it was my kid and they had an opportunity to hear the gospel in a way that might reach them in particular, i want them to hear it.

the main thing is to make sure that they hear the truth as much as possible, and have every opportunity to embrace it for themselves.

she knew what she was doing. she said YES!

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biggest losers? … biggest winners.

you know. i don’t watch biggest loser every season or make a point to catch every episode, but everytime i watch i’m inspired. yes, by the weight loss, and yes, by the new habits and thought processes they learn… but something stands out even more. they learn how much the people that they love matter to them.i watched three teams of people work harder than they have ever worked just to open letters from home… the top prize. the end all be all. letters and video chats from the people that they love. what a great lesson.
as i write a lesson about the greatest commandment, love… and consider this verse “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:37-38, i’m thinking that loving your family is the place to start putting this into action. showing it and sharing it are crucial to obedience and make life so much better.

i often tell my kids, love one another (many times, admittedly, its when they aren’t actively displaying their love for each other)… but i read something else today that was really convicting.

love your kids the most when they deserve it the least.

what better way to show them what God’s love looks like! We can’t begin to touch the love he shows us… but parent love is the closest thing we have on earth to show it to them.

there are people in the congregation packin’

i’m personally packing for the beach…

but today we had an amazing workshop on safety and security at work. since i deal mostly with kids in my position… this is of utmost importance to me.

nothing will send someone faster away from your church than the feeling of un-security, un-safeness, un-detail orientation when it comes to the lives of their kids. security is our number one physical concern.

if you have worked at a church, you know that people dont remember to bring back their tags, or think they can pick up kids because they know you… and many times, they get irritated when you make them sign something extra or write down their information, AGAIN. and i’m always ok with that. you can be  mad at me … but you will leave knowing that someone cared enough about the matching XJ2(or whatever your randomly selected code is for that day) we need to see to give you back your child… and you will come back.

a generic fellowship one tag, the company we use to monitor kids

so, in our workshop… we learned about the team of people that are there each time we have a service, ensuring our safety. i love that. it’s not just the kids being protected, but everyone. we learned of their backgrounds in law enforcement at varying levels and degrees. let me boil it down for you though – in case you find yourself in a situation where you need to create security.

-we have armed officers patrolling our grounds and our buildings.

-we have visible law enforcement specialist all around, serving as a great deterrent.

-we have undercover teams you will never see, but you can still thank God for.

-places that have been the victims of mass shooting (active shooting) many times had no such deterrents or security in place (thank you long hollow for caring enough about all of us to go the extra mile)

-we all need to have a plan in place for extreme conditions. you, as the leader of a room, should have a plan in mind should anything go awry.

-when we go to lock-down. it’s real lock-down. like at school. just because you are at church, doesnt’ mean you can break the rules and leave your designated area to get your child. this will endanger you both. (now, i can understand if there is no security, why this might be tempting, but when there is security – trust that we are doing the best we can to keep your kiddo safe from harm)

-we need to have our eyes and ears open at all times, aware of what is going on around us. aware of sketchy characters… if someone just came to mind, you need to alert your security officers 10 minutes ago. they can only work with the information they have.

-we went through multiple active shooter situations from the past few decades. there were many things in common and they aligned with a terrorist attack. premeditation. lack of security. planning. altered realities that should’ve been noticed by someone. stemming from a hatred from a past hurt. the columbine shooters met all of these criteria, and it was parralelled with a terrorist attack in mumbai – eerily similar.

-we ended with a photo of a piece of heaven. our head security officer shared that we know that God is in control, and that evidence of God’s greatness is all around us. we need to look for it and be reminded.

this whole thing was not to cause fear, but to prepare us to love people better by protecting them. i love my church for this.


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mac-tastic… we lost a creative hero

we lost a hero today. steve jobs changed the way we communicate. create. design. share ideas and information.

he revolutionized the way creatives are able to share their wondrous works. he made possible things we haven’t even dreamed of yet.

we will continue to be affected by the things that he put in place. no doubt.

can the same be said of you? can the same be said of me?

here is the thing… when we tell the true story of Christ… we change the way people communicate. create. design. share ideas and information. He has made the way that we can share His wondrous works. He has made possible things we haven’t even dreamed of yet. i don’t normally do alot of capitalizing, i just don’t – even when i type the word god at times. but i wanted to make a point.

yes we lament the passing of steve jobs and all of the iThings we know would’ve been ahead of us…oh how sad we really are. death is sad.

my kids asked tonite if i thought iphones would stop being created and changed… to which i answered, he started it, but i’m certain he put people in place to carry on all that he began…

in the same way, Jesus started it. he left us with his message when he left earth to return to the father in heaven. he left the Holy Spirit to equip and counsel us. and he expects us to run with it… and carry on all that He began.

i am thankful that because of steve jobs and all that he accomplished, the artist and writer in me is better able to share that message of hope that only Christ brings. i will be able to share the true story of Jesus in more ways than i can even imagine.

so…. the question is will we leave an impact. as believers and stewards of the saving truth we have an opportunity to have an eternal impact. i’ll be using my mac, iphone and ipad to more effectively do this. i’ll be equipped by the holy spirit to do so. will you? do you know Him? do you have the power of the holy spirit at your fingertips? if you don’t… please let me tell you how.

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so, heart calls a meeting…

we have been learning about the church as a living organism for the last two weeks.

this week we are learning about being many parts in one body… so naturally we thought we would create a short about giant body parts…

so… the body parts are grumbling about their particular roles, foot really wants to be a hand, eye is rude to everyone and ear feels unloved. heart decides to call a meeting…

each character learns that they are important… just as each person is important in the body of of the church… even though it does sound like a science fiction novel to have many people in one body…

(the irony is that each of these actors are very active as they function within the church body in one accord. i have been impressed for the past year with the lives they each are leading and knew that they would be the best ones to tell the story)

tyler scott is the shooter and editor… and we can’t wait to see the finished product. it’s going to rock the treehouse here, then make its’ way to jeremie, haiti – for our kids there!

i’m so excited about the lesson, the crazy visuals and the creativity of this project…

because nothing beats a good heart!

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