Tag Archives: christianity

This weekend we changed that.

lhkidz treehouse logo

lhkidz treehouse logo

last week while putting the finishing touches on the script for the weekend worship experience in treehouse it hit me. we don’t offer an opportunity to respond to the truth we are so diligent to teach every week. we tell them about a Savior. Heaven. Jesus. Eternity. Sin. Forgiveness. Redemption. Love. We do this all the time. We speak the gospel unapologetically every week… but we don’t always ask if anyone wants to respond. we don’t offer them a chance to say “yes”.

we do have frequent weeks that we identify as “this one is a salvation message, so let’s give them a chance to respond” … but not every week. what if a kid is only there once? and what if we didn’t tell them how to say yes to Jesus… Understand, i believe that God is going to do his work regardless of whether we do ours… the question is whether or not we get to participate, experience His work with him. Have we been missing opportunities to be part of his reaping… Have we cost children the access to eternity by not giving them a chance to say yes.

This weekend we changed that. We decided to give them a chance whenever they are here, and they hear the gospel … to say yes. Yesterday… 35 kids said yes to Jesus.

Understand me, these are not kindgergartners or 1st graders. We didn’t ask them, because we want to make sure they aren’t making a decision to please us, younger kids can do that sometimes, but rather because they want to enter into life with Jesus.

Also… this was not an emotional, mountain top experience… this was straight-up spiritual leaders (hosts and small group teachers) leading the kids in their care to the Savior.

And that… wrecks me.

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what’s so great about camp, anyway.

lhkidz camp – road trip experience – experiencing God

we’ve been calling families for two solid days to invite them to lhkidz camp.

i wish i could speak to each and every person myself and share the importance of camp with them… but that is simply not possible. i thought i would share here, so i can hash out how i really feel, share it with you and hopefully encourage people to make an eternal investment in their kids.

i’m going to give some bullet points, but here is my succint emotional appeal and belief:

Going away with church friends takes relationships at church to a whole new level. It allows kids to have conversations about God that they normally would never have. It allows them to hang out with kids they don’t normally see in class because they might be at a different hour or different campus. Camp is about eternal relationships. It gives kids the greatest opportunity to find those forever friends they might have missed. It is safe. There is no team, no sports camp, no lesson you can sign your kid up for that will give them more of eternal value in such a short time.

I really don’t want any kid to miss the infusion in their heart, that camp provides.

personally… my kids are still connected to the people that they met in camp, their small group leaders, the kids in their cabin. it’s a marker in their lives. personally, i have my own fond memories from camp… don’t you?

consider these things:

-camp is a place that they get away from electronics, couchsitting, television and the distractions fall away allowing them to focus differently on friends, fun and God.

-camp is where the things of the church, the gospel get to come alive and be seen as FUN.

-at camp you get to spend quality time with friends, and you make new friends… you see people differently when they are sweating next to you, or singing next to you.

-at camp you meet adults that love Jesus enough to spend the week with you, more role models, more people to connect with when you get back to church.

-at camp you get to be messy. and loud. and artistic. and creative. and you get to laugh.

-at camp you get to really know pastor jason, me, and the rest of our team.

common reasons people say no:

1 – i don’t have the money.

ok, i hear you on that. the thing is, there are scholarship opportunities and other options like Kroger Cares dollars. the bottom line is we don’t want your kid to miss camp because of money, so let’s see if we can get you some help.

2 – my child doesn’t want to be away from me. (also read: “i don’t want my child to be away from me”)

here’s the thing, there are lots of things we do for and with our kids that aren’t their first choice or what they thought they wanted. we don’t let them stay up all night or eat only junkfood, because we know best. we see the big picture.

don’t let fear stop you from doing something for your child that might be the richest thing they can do, spiritually speaking, all summer.

i just don’t want your kids to miss out. that’s all.

LH KIDZ CAMP

MIDDLE SCHOOL CAMP

HIGH SCHOOL CAMP

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i’ve died and gone to heaven.

actually… i haven’t.

pantone cards and markers

normally, this is the kind of things that would make me say "i've died and gone to heaven"

phillip randoll did.

if you were at my church this sunday, then you know…

if you were not, and you want to know you can check it out here: https://vimeo.com/39998177

i ask you… who has an easter service that starts with death? we do, that’s who.

you know, lots of people go to church on just christmas and easter… so it’s possible that they have only encountered two of the stories in the entire bible. TWO! while, we can all agree that they are the two most crucial things that have ever happened… christ was born… christ died and rose again defeating death.

but the bible is about so much more. and the picture is so much bigger. it is huge.

that’s what we chose to show at my church this week.

to show that a life lived for christ has an eternal impact. that every second counts. every word. every decision. every second.

as our pastor, David Landrith, stood and shared, there was a descending ticker behind him on the screen… counting down the seconds of his life (if he were to live to age 80). WOW. it was powerful.

then to see the ripple effect of philip randoll’s life. his choice to

say yes to jesus

to become a prayer warrior to friends

to have a godly marriage

to evangelize his community

to take his family to another country to start a church.

the evidence of his life lived for Christ … that’s the kind of evidence i want to leave behind when i am gone.

when i have died and gone to heaven… i want to have left evidence of a life lived for Christ.

what do you want to leave behind when you’ve died and gone to heaven?

 

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i received an interesting message today…

why is spiderman at the top of this post? read on... read on...

this is what her message said –

“as it currently stands, i am having to make decisions about my job i never hoped to make which is leading me to question career choices in journalism and life as a writer. i’ve often viewed writing talent (or any art form) as a curse. There is the relentless need to achieve perfection and writing is subjective-loved by some, hated by others.
i find myself questioning why God gave me talent as a writer and why i couldn’t have been blessed with something else that would have been easier to establish job security in, like having a gift for science or math and pursuing careers in medicine or business.
as i was reading my bible tonight, i began to realize being gifted in writing is one of the greatest gifts of all. why? God needed writers to spread his word. True all scripture was inspired by God, but he needed someone there to put ink on the pages.
and although this doesn’t necessarily bring about resolve to my concerns, it does provide a little comfort.” this was sent to me by Emily Jane Vernon, (check out her blog. follow her on twitter.

she makes a really good point, doesn’t she? and i love our God for encouraging her through the very medium that she was questioning. I love that he shared a love letter and showed her how important the written word is… it gives life in the case of the bible… by using his word written down for us.

it’s true, writing is an interesting thing because it is very subjective, and with the new outlets like blogs, tweets, posts, etc. many of the traditional rules are out the window too… so you can’t even really judge something on it’s structural elements. it’s pretty much, do people like reading what we write? which leads to something altogether different.

it’s our responsibility to find contentment in Christ and not look for it from others. this is true in relationships (it is not your husband’s job to make you feel a certain way. it is not your child’s job to complete you. and on and on… ) when we have contentment the other things that we really want take care of themselves. that being said, we have to be content that what we write honors God, and is worthy of our time and effort. when we share, we have to be confident in what we are sharing. we take a risk that it won’t be well received or considered “good enough”. and we have to be ok with that. and content that we did the best we could.

if you are a writer, be grateful. you have been entrusted with a powerful gift. use it wisely.

story. writing. capturing the best ideas. sharing. it’s crucial, and has life changing effects.

like peter’s grandfather told him in spiderman “with great power comes great responsibility”.

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what’s so good about this friday?

without this friday… there is no sunday.

without sunday… there is no resurrection.

without resurrection… there is no salvation.

without salvation… there is no heaven.

there is hell. that’s it.

that’s what so good about this friday.

if this doesn’t make sense to you, then we need to talk.

it means that i haven’t shared the most important thing i know, with you.

and that is on me, not you. if i have encountered you, spent time with you, cared about you… but haven’t shared the story of forgiveness with you i am at fault.

if you know the story of forgiveness and chose not to receive it…that is on you.

friends that know Jesus… tell everyone you know what’s so good about this Friday.

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hard to love or love hard?

they call him love. love. love. love. love.

you know. i’m often talking to people about love.

to my family: love one another. that’s your sister, love her. i love you.

to my friends: i love you. let’s look at each other through a love filter.

to my leaders: love kids. love them hard. when they are hard to love, love them anyway.

it hit me today… you can’t ask people to love hard, unless you love them hard.

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dodgeball and jesus… what’s up with that?

i saw a tweet today that said “i don’t know what dodgeball has to do with church.

i had to laugh. because if someone doesn’t see how a dodgeball tournament that brings 2500 students from all over the county and surrounding areas to church… to hear about jesus and hang out with their friends… then they haven’t been to my church.

dodgeball tournament at long hollow, @lhstudents

you see, students are a huge deal at long hollow. they are celebrated. considered. thought about. prayed for. fed. loved. we bend over backwards and any which way to find ways to bring kids to church. church is a place that is safe. church is a place where you can find help. church is a place where you can have fun. Jesus is not boring, he gives life and freedom.

our student team loves kids. they go to games and plays and banquets and … well, let’s just say that if there are students there, our student team is there too. they are involved and engaged in the lives of teens everywhere. this is great. and important.

to me… it’s crucial. you see, i have two kids in this ministry. and i have one more that will be joining them in a couple of months. so 3 of my 4 children are in their hands.

my oldest said it best when he told me recently “this has been the best two years of my life”. he knows that he is valued and important to the people in his church. HIS CHURCH… not just my church that i make him attend, but HIS CHURCH. and HIS FRIENDS… not just the kids of my friends.

yes, long hollow student ministry has given my kids a place that they will never forget. they will carry in their hearts and memories as they become adults and make their own decisions about how they want to live their lives. they have been given a foundation of truth, that is reiterated every day. for that, i’m eternally grateful.

that’s what dodgeball has to do with church.

sidenote: my 7th grader’s team #simplyswag won the junior high girls tournament. it was a sweet victory. hashtag awesome.

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up in my treehouse…

up in my treehouse

oh. friends. i can’t freaking wait for you to hear the new treehouse song!

(my friend curt campbell and I wrote it)

as soon as it is available for free download i will let you know.

it is so catchy and fun and says exactly what i wanted it to say.

we are using the song to open our spring musical. the musical is set in a treehouse… 4 kids are spending their last day before middle school opening up their time capsule from kindergarten: THE REVERED TIME CAPSULE OF KINDERGARTENESS.

except for the title song, all of the remaining songs are some of my very favorites from Slugs & Bugs, Underwhere. with titles like ‘Ninja’, ‘Mexican Rhapsody’ and God Makes Messy Things Beautiful … people should be prepared to be enchanted.

the kids are loving the songs. i’m loving the music (which is really good because i have heard each of these songs 1000 times, at least)… and the best part is that we get to point to Christ. with a song about cheese dip! and an all-the-faraway in my backyard treehouse … it’s going to be fun.

i’ve been working on the poster today… thought i would share it.

what are you so excited about today that you want to make a poster?!

if you tell me… maybe i’ll just design a poster for you!

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he’s going to ask me if i did it…

There’s a kid in treehouse that put me on the spot this weekend and asked me if I was going to follow through on the thing God told me to do that week.

He wanted to know if I was going to do it Monday! I told him I’d get back to him on Sunday (he’ll have to wait an extra week, though because i’m on my way to haiti at 3am in the morning) anyway… here’s what i’m going to tell him.

“so… the person God wanted me to talk to about heaven that i mentioned the other day… I talked to her today… for about 4 hours.

She already knows all about heaven and Jesus… and currently attends a Lutheran church.

here’s the thing. i know God told me to talk to her about heaven, because I had asked him and that was the name the holy spirit put in my mind.

but here’s the deal: i’m pretty sure God wanted me to talk to her… because he wanted me to care about her.

I had the time to ask so many questions and learn so much about her life. i found that we had similar taste in music and love for arts festivals and other nashvillian delights. I learned about her ambitions and hopes for the future. i heard about her relationships. i found a million things to like about her…

i think he really wanted me to talk to her, because he wanted me to have a heart for her.”

so after i say all of that… i’m going to ask that boy in treehouse one more question

“who does God want you to have a heart for today?”

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you see… i have this blog…and viking pandas

i’m headed to a conference tomorrow that i am totally stoked about.

it’s called blissdom, and it’s essentially a blogger’s conference – from my understanding. to be honest with you, i was unfamiliar with this conference until the last few months. i saw a couple of tweets that piqued my interest, made by people that i like… that is usually was spurs me to action 1-something interesting 2-involving people i like.

anyway… my friend tami is going to be presenting at the conference and invited me to go with her. i was so excited to think of hanging out for some solid hours together … plus with something so fun and potentially encouraging to do.

you see… i have this blog… (as you well know, because you are now reading it, and i’m grateful) … and i really do want people to enjoy it and share in the fun with me. i also really enjoy using social media to connect and encourage other people. i love giving digital high fives and shoutouts to things i enjoy. i love commenting on people’s blogs showing them that someone took the time to read and react to what they said. i love pinning. i love seeing what other people think is pin-worthy. i love the community all of this provides, and the creativity that is spawned from it. i love the leadership training i can get through reading and examples. the list is endless.

the challenge for me … is worry about missing something. did i remember to check this board, or give someone a +K that had given me one. do i retweet that? or dm that person? it can feel like each minute you aren’t engaging… you might be missing something.

so i’m concerned. i’m concerned that going to this blogging conference is going to amp that up. i am concerned that i will fret about how many readers so-and-so has and how they got all those people to walk with them on the journey. i don’t want to miss the joy of the personal sharing because of jealousy or defeat. i don’t want to fall prey to feeling less or more important that anyone. i want to remember the whole time that my job is to honor god. if that is through my blog… awesome. if that is through writing a show for kids. awesome. if that is through having a conversation with someone that is uninterrupted by text messages and notifications… awesome. i want to keep this at the forefront of my mind. by alerting myself to the potential ways that the enemy could use these tools to defeat me and render me ineffective for the purpose of spreading the message of God’s love…

 

i’ll be praying asking God to protect my heart… and mind from damaging concerns. i’ll be praying asking God who he wants me to connect with and how… and what he wants me to do with it. i will be begging God to allow me to be a blessing and not a bother. I am telling you all this… so that i will actually have to do it, and not just ponder it in the safe recesses of my human mind.

what things have the potential to distract you from your primary goals?

and speaking of goals… i finally get to go watch quint in a rugby match. his team is the viking pandas… of course he came up with the name. do they even have “goals” in rugby? i guess i’ll find out

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