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Children’s Ministry Parenting Uncategorized

What Can Kids Learn From Biblical Judges?

Biblical Judges

Gideon, Samuel, and Samson are familiar names to those of us who grew up going to church as kids, but what about Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Eli or Abimelech? Who were they and why do they matter today? Why does it matter what a couple of people over 3,000 years ago did? More importantly, why is it relevant today for kids to learn from the Biblical judges?

Looking back through the Old Testament, the time of the judges was a turbulent time – a time when “all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25b NLT). Sound similar to today’s world? Just looking at the news each night makes us reflect back and think, maybe this is relevant because similar things are going on in the world around me. For our Goodman’s Global Games series we take some Bible Lessons from these judges and make sure they are age appropriate so kids can learn that doing things God’s way is better than doing things the way we think is right.

What can children learn from the judges in 1-2 Samuel and Judges? They learn leadership traits such as:

  • How to live life God’s way
  • How to be a leader through actions instead of words
  • How to help others
  • How to be brave when they are scared
  • How to obey God
  • How to choose good friends

The judges of the Bible were leaders who lived a life that is an example to us. Your children can watch these Bible Lesson videos on LeadershipForKids.org or churches can use these lessons from Elevate’s Goodman’s Global Games series. There are no wasted lessons taught in the Bible. Many valuable leadership traits can be gained from each person in the Bible, including from each of the judges.

Current Affairs Parenting Uncategorized

Moms' Night Out – The Movie

Last night my wife, two daughters, and parents sat down and watched a pre-screening of the movie Moms’ Night Out. I’m not sure what is happening in Hollywood as of late, but three great Christian family films have hit the theaters recently. Heaven is for Real, God’s Not Dead, and coming Mother’s Day – Moms’ Night Out. To me the most exciting part is that, like Christian music, there are finally some high quality, faith-based films entering into the mainstream genre. And, with the success of Heaven is for Real debuting as the top new release this past weekend and number two movie overall, I hope that the trend will continue.

Here are my thoughts on Moms’ Night Out:

When I looked at the cast of the movie and saw that my favorite hobbit, Sean Astin, was going to be in it, I was immediately impressed. Add to this Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond), Sarah Drew (Gray’s Anatomy), and Trace Adkins (Country Music star) and this had the making of a top-notch film. I have to admit however, that when I sat down to watch, I still had a lingering doubt…is this just going to be a Hallmark movie gone to the big screen? Is there a way that someone is still going to mess this up?

What I discovered from start to finish was a well thought through plot and a hilarious story line. The verbal and slapstick humor caused all of us in the room to laugh out loud more than most comedy movies we’ve seen (we just watched the Secret Life of Walter Mitty a couple of nights earlier, and although we did laugh quite a bit throughout, it wasn’t near as much as we did during Moms’ Night Out.) Just for the fun factor alone this movie will be well worth the price of a movie ticket, both for you and all the members of your family. However the greater thing about the movie is that there is a deeper purpose to it than just making you laugh. The message is a heartwarming story of a discovery that we all should put aside our expectations of what we think a successful life looks like and just live the life that God has given to us, to the best of our ability, and look for the joy that can be found within it’s design.

In Moms’ Night Out the main character, Sarah Drew, feels like a failure, she has everything that she’s ever wanted in life and yet she still feels like she is not as happy as she thought she would be, or should be – her life is crazy. But, by the end of the movie, and a night of hilarious antics, she realizes that although her life will never be perfect, if she can keep the perspective that what she is doing is exactly what God wants her to be doing, she will find joy in whatever situation she find herself in.  That sounds like a message we all could learn from.

Moms' night out movie trailer

Take Home and Application:

1- Husbands take your wife, and your mom, to go see Moms’ Night Out, and then take a moment to affirm in them that they are very, very important.

2- Parents, take your kids to this movie and afterwards talk to them about the fact that our lives on this earth will never be perfect. Don’t set expectations on how you think your life should be, take your life as it is and do your very best to enjoy the many wonderful moments that come along with it. Teach your kids that if we only look at the negative things of life and the failures that come with them, our Christian life will fizzle. But, if we instead thank God for the life that we have, looking for and treasuring the positive things in it, our Christian life will be a sure success.

I highly recommend Moms’ Night Out. Go out and support it and let Hollywood know we want more of the same…the cool thing is, if that happens, it will only get better and better as it goes.

Behind the Scenes Children’s Ministry Elevate Uncategorized

I Failed David Wakerley From Hillsong

Elevate Kid's Worship Music

Recently, David Wakerley said that I failed him. Well David, I only have one thing to say to you…you’re right, and I’m sorry.

David is the awesome Kid’s Pastor at Hillsong Church and is the creative director of Hillsong Kids. He has a blog well worth reading at DavidWakerley.com. For the last several months, David has been reviewing children’s music designed for Christian kids and I would highly recommend looking at his blog for the latest in such resources.

David and I have had multiple conversations over the years, the most recent being at a CPC conference in San Diego. Unfortunately, in our conversations, the children’s music that we produce here at FC Kids never came up. So, as he was scouring the Internet, he just happened to stumble across our kid’s worship music and was hurt that I had kept it from him. 🙂 Obviously, his ribbing me about not telling him about our music was done in jest, and he went on to give our children’s music a very kind review. For that I say a big thank you.

So, to make sure our children’s music is not a secret, if any of you are looking for creative kids music that can be downloaded as MP3’s and as music videos to use in your children’s ministry you can find them at ElevateAtChurch.com/Music. In fact, we have a free music video download for Easter – to download Hosanna, enter the code EASTER at checkout before Good Friday.

And, of course, to find the best kids music in the world, be sure to check out Hillsong’s Kids Music.

Now, all I can hope is that David will forgive me.

Parenting Uncategorized

Teach Your Kids About Authority

All kids have authority issues.

As parents we have all been there. We tell our children not to do something, and when we turn our backs they decide to do it anyway. Obviously, the root of the problem is their own selfishness. They want to do what they want to do, and not do what you want them to do. But, they are also experiencing a problem with authority, a problem that if you don’t deal with now, will come back to hurt them and haunt them for the rest of their life.

All of us are subject to authority. Whether it be our boss at work, the police and firemen who protect our streets and homes, or the governmental authorities that we vote into position. Most importantly however, is that fact that we are all subject to God’s authority, and by disobeying the authority that He places over us, we are ultimately disobeying Him. That is why it’s important for your child to understand that you, as their parents, are in authority over them, and that that authority has been given to you by God. When they obey you, they are obeying God. When they disobey you, they are disobeying God. If we want our children to live a successful life, they have to learn to obey authority. When they do they will be able to grow up to be the leaders that God designed them to be. Have your child watch the video below about the life of Samuel and how he, by obeying Eli and by obeying God, became one of the greatest prophets in the Bible.

I Will Listen To Authority


An “Umbrella Fella”

When the video is complete, talk to your child about authority.  Use an umbrella as an example. An umbrella is designed to protect us, but the umbrella only works when we stay underneath it. If it’s raining outside and we stay under the umbrella, we won’t get wet. But if we leave the umbrella, we are sure to get soaked to the bone. Authority is like an umbrella. When we stay under those who are in authority over us by doing what they ask us to do, we will be protected from the harmful things in life. If we step out from under the umbrella of authority that protection is no longer over us and we will suffer the negative consequences. Make sure your child knows that God has great plans for them, but those plans will only come about if they live a life of obedience.

For more great tips on helping your child obey and to learn many other great character qualities, go to <a title="Kid's Videos on LeadershipForKids.tv" href="https://www read review.leadershipforkids.tv/browse/plans?utm_source=MJBlog&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=reactive” target=”_blank”>LeadershipForKids.tv and sign up today.

Current Affairs Parenting Uncategorized

Heaven is for Real – The Movie

A month or so ago a good friend of mine, David Almgren, asked me to do a preview screening for the upcoming movie “Heaven is for Real”.

I’m sure by now many of you have seen this movie trailer at the theater and when you saw it you probably said to yourself, “Hey that looks like a pretty good movie…I wonder if it’s done by Christians?”

Well no, not necessarily, and yes, that’s okay!

The movie, directed by Oscar-nominated Randall Wallace, is being released by Tri-Star Pictures and contains some pretty heavy hitting actors such as Greg Kinnear (also Oscar Nominated) and Kelly Reilly (of Sherlock Holmes fame). The movie has been given a hefty advertising budget which Sony has used wisely (unless you haven’t heard of it – then for you, not so much).

Heaven is for Real - Official Movie Trailer

For those of you who may be unaware, “Heaven is for Real” is about a little boy (Colton Burpo) who went to Heaven and came back to tell about it. Here is a brief rundown:

Heaven is for Real is the true story of the four-year old son of a small-town Nebraska pastor who experienced Heaven during emergency surgery. This boy, Colton Burpo, talked about looking down to see the doctor operating on him and he also saw his dad who was praying in another room. The family didn’t know what to believe, but soon the evidence was clear.

In Heaven, Colton met his miscarried sister whom no one had ever told him about. He also met his great-grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born. He shared impossible-to-know details about each. Colton went on to describe the horse that only Jesus could ride, about how “reaaally big” God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit “shoots down power” from heaven to help us.

Told by Colton’s father, often in Colton’s own words, the disarmingly simple message is that Heaven is a real place, Jesus really loves children, and to be ready because there is a coming last battle.

The book “Heaven is for Real” has sold over 8 million copies and has spent numerous weeks as #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List.

Recently I had the privilege of spending a couple of hours with Todd and Sonja Burpo and I came away thoroughly impressed with both of them (they’re Elevate users by the way!). Their genuine heart for getting this message out is very inspiring. After talking to them, I came away renewed and refreshed by their passion for Jesus that has survived amidst the negativity from some within the Christian body. I can honestly tell you that they are great people, with a great heart, and a great love for reaching others with the love of Christ. They are REAL people with a REAL story and I was honored to meet them both.

Now on to the movie itself – here is what I wrote as a review:

     “Heaven is for real is a gripping movie regarding human doubt and the ultimate reconciliation of belief with every day life. From the pulpit, Pastor Todd Burpo has preached on Heaven his whole career. However, when his son, Colton, makes a claim that he actually went to Heaven, there comes a gut wrenching reality check as to whether Todd believes in Heaven enough to make an alteration in the way that he lives. Once he does, he must then convince his congregation to do the same.

    I believe this movie will cause each person in the audience to think more about Heaven in his or her day-to-day life. I also believe that it will bring the viewer to a realization that everyone needs to have an eternal perspective on their life; to understand that there is life beyond the grave, found in Jesus Christ, and that our actions on this earth will ultimately affect our eternity.”

Movie Review – Mike Johnson

Would I recommend this movie? Absolutely! “Heaven is for Real” is a wholesome movie that will open up dialogue within your family about Heaven and the joys that await us when we get there. When you arrive at the theater don’t expect a Salvation Message, because you won’t find it. However, you will see Jesus Christ clearly presented as the Son of God.

As a parent I would use this movie as an opportunity to talk to your child about the glorious gift that Jesus gives to us when we accept Him as our Savior, and that gift is Heaven. Also, be sure to ask them questions about what they think Heaven will be like and what they want to do when they get there. Let their imaginations fly, and listen carefully, because after all, children in their innocence may know more about the Kingdom than any of us.

In closing, take a look at this clip of Colton singing (he’s got a great voice). I think you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Parenting Uncategorized

Pro-Active Parenting

Recently my wife Karry and I taught a three-week course based on parenting children three years old through fifth grade. The overarching theme of this course was to help parents understand what they need to do in order to help their child be successful.

During this parenting course, one of the key points my wife and I talked about was the importance of pro-active parenting when teaching your child. Pro-active teaching is when you teach your child what is right and wrong before your child is placed in a position where he or she has to make a decision regarding which direction to go next.

Another key point we talked about is the importance of being re-active when teaching your child. Re-active teaching happens when your child does something that God does not want him or her to do and you use that opportunity as a teachable moment to help him or her see why it was wrong and how to handle the situation better in the future.

These areas of teaching are vital in raising successful children, yet they are two areas that we as parents often fail in. That is why we are so passionate about the streaming website called LeadershipForKids.tv. For less than the price of one cup of coffee per month, you as a parent can have a team of professionals ready to help at a moments notice.

Here is how you as a parent can utilize LeadershipForKids.tv to assist you as you use pro-active and re-active teaching with your child:

·      For pro-active teaching, LeadershipForKids.tv will instill morals and values into your child’s moral warehouse, their heart. Then, when a situation arises where a particular moral or value is needed, it will be available and ready to be acted upon.

·      For re-active teaching, LeadershipForKids.tv will come alongside you to help give appropriate insight during those critical teachable moments after your child has done an action of disobedience. In a moments notice, you can find a video on your smart device that deals with the exact issue your child is struggling with. You will be able to use this video as backup to enhance your own teaching, or, if you don’t know what to say, the video can speak for you.

As parents, we have been given an incredible task: to raise our child to know and love Christ and to live a life that is pleasing to Him. By taking advantage of LeadershipForKids.tv, you can be assured that you will have the tools necessary to make the task of raising your child a successful one.

Children’s Ministry Conferences Uncategorized

Who's Coming To The Children's Pastors Conference? You Are?!

The 2014 Children’s Pastors Conference in Orlando, Florida is just around the corner and I’d love to meet you at the conference. One of my favorite parts of conference season is meeting with you face-to-face and talking about your children’s ministry!

During the conference, be sure and come by our Elevate booth so you can take part in exciting events and giveaways.

If you haven’t signed up for the conference, you can register today using the referral code INCMelevate. E-mail us at info@elevateatchurch.com to let us know if you’re coming to CPC East in Orlando, Florida or CPC West in Ontario, California. We look forward to meeting you and exchanging kidmin ideas with you at CPC 2014!

Children’s Ministry Parenting Uncategorized

A Christmas Memory That Will Last A Lifetime

As a child I remember the “Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar” my family used, where little chocolates and scripture readings sat waiting for me behind little windows that were opened each day. It’s funny how this simple cardboard stand made the joyful anticipation of Christmas even greater while helping me to learn even more about the Christmas story.

Because this is such a fond memory of mine we wanted to recreate that joyful feeling with your children this holiday season too!

On LeadershipForKids.tv we’ve come up with our own wonderful “Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar” that has both a daily reading plan as well as a five-seven minute video your children will enjoy.

Over the next 24 days here is what your children will learn:

Week One: The Light Is Promised
The promise of the Christ and the promises of God.

Week Two:  The Light Is Revealed
God revealing His plan to bring Jesus into the world.

Week Three: The Light Shines
Jesus’ birth is announced to the world.

Week Four: The Light Must Be Shared
The light of Jesus is to be shared around the world.

As a parent, I encourage you to have a special treat that follows the completion of each Scripture reading and video. Nothing big, just something as simple as a piece of chocolate. It will add to the excitement, and it will make a memory and tradition your child will cherish forever.

Not experiencing the amazing benefits of LeadershipForKids.tv yet? No problem! Sign up today for free and utilize it to make this special lifetime memory with your children. Simply go to Leadershipforkids.tv and begin this special Christmas journey today! You can also download the LeadershipForKids.tv App off iTunes or Google Play for easy access on your phone or tablet.

FC Kids Leadership Uncategorized

Speak the Truth

Elijah and the Prophets of Baal

Elijah vs Prophets of Baal (1 Kings 17-18)

“The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong.” Psalm 37:30 (NLT)

Other than cats, probably the most popular videos on the internet are fail videos. These are usually humorous, sometimes scary videos where someone is usually trying to do something either dangerous, stupid, or both, and it often goes predictably and horribly wrong. As we watch the video, many times we see and realize what is about to happen and we either laugh or cringe, knowing that there is nothing we can do to change the outcome. But in real life, instead of watching a fail happen and being glad it wasn’t us, we need to realize that we have the chance to step in and stop it from happening.

As Christians we understand that God’s Word gives us guidelines that will help us avoid many things in life that will cause us to fail. We also understand that we have an opportunity to share those guidelines with others. But unfortunately, many times we don’t speak up and warn our friends when we see them about to fail. Then, sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly, we watch their lives fall apart.

It is increasingly difficult to stand up for the truth that is in God’s Word without being called a radical, a bigot, or troublemaker. It happened to Elijah and it most certainly will happen to us. In today’s story, the king was angry with Elijah for being a messenger of God’s word. Ahab called Elijah a troublemaker. But Elijah didn’t back down. He continued to speak the truth even though many of the people didn’t listen. It’s not our job to convince people, but it is our responsibility to speak out. Leave the convincing to God’s Holy Spirit. Just speak the truth simply and lovingly and challenge people to try it God’s way. When you do, you might just save a friend from a life-changing fail.

Leadership Uncategorized

Are You Ready For God’s Great Plans For You?

David and Goliath - Elevate's Epic Kids series

The story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17)

“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16 – 17 (NLT)

Have you had conversations like these?

“Are you ready to go?”
“Yes.”
“Good. Let’s go.”
“First I have to find my shoes and go to the bathroom.”

Or…

“Are you ready for dinner?”
“Yes.”
“Let’s eat.”
“Okay, but let me go and get something out of the car first.”

If you recognize yourself in any of these lines, you and/or someone close to you does not know the definition of the word, “ready.” When you are ready, there is nothing left that needs to be done “first” because you have already done all of those things ahead of time. But the question for today is: “How can we be ready for things that we don’t know are coming?” I have found that there is really only one way to prepare for the unknown. You prepare for the unknown by making sure you are doing all of the basics with intensity and focus. For example, a team preparing for a playoff game when the opponent has not yet been determined will not slack off in practice, instead it will focus with intensity on the basics of the game.

In our Christian life we need to buckle down on the basics. One of the most “basic” of the basics is church attendance. You need to commit to be at church. Don’t miss. But, you also need to focus on the basics outside of church as well. You need to study the Bible at home, pray, read the Bible with your children or family, and share what you have learned with others.

We get ready for what God has for us in the future by doing what God has for us now. In the Bible, David worked and excelled at what God had for him when he was younger. He worked at the basics of being a shepherd. He may have dreamed about one day doing something else, but he didn’t use that dream for the future as an excuse for slacking off in the present.  He stuck to the basics and those basics one day helped him defeat Goliath.

When you do the basics of the faith with intensity, you will be ready for anything that God asks you to do, which, is a very good thing.

After all, when God says it’s time to go and do something great, you don’t want to have to be looking for your shoes…