Monthly Archives: November 2015

Book Review: Show Them Jesus

show_them_jesus_thumbnail__26699.1404693685.451.416Book Review: Show Them Jesus by Jack Klumpenhower

The Good:

This Book Can Preach. As the title suggests, the goal of this book is to teach the Gospel to kids. Well, in reading the book, the Gospel is preached to the reader over and over. Each time you open the book, there is the Gospel with incredible insight and creativity.

This Book Can Teach. Wow! The specific teaching lessons that are given in this book are incredible. Here’s a little teaser: The author takes the story of Balaam and the donkey and links it to the Gospel. It is amazing.

Honest & Humble. The author takes an honest approach to teaching children. Often, he humbly reveals his past mistakes and presents an honest view of what teaching children is like. You feel like you are in the classroom with him as he takes you on a journey teaching children the Gospel. It is a journey worth taking.

Break it Down. At the end of each chapter, the author provides a valuable breakdown for each reader. The general reader, the parent, the teacher, and the youth worker all get specific focus and breakdown at the end of each chapter.   This practical application is invaluable to the reader and expands your audience to more than just children’s ministry teachers.

The Bad:

Flow River Flow. There were at times where the flow was not especially easy for the reader. It was almost like the author was so excited to share the material, he couldn’t contain the information.

Repetitive. The author repeats himself from time to time. The author repeats himself from time to time. I thought it was funny. I get it though, the author is making a point of reiterating the Gospel’s importance, but the repeating of material could have made the book more succinct.

The Grade: A-

Everyone in children’s ministry should purchase this book, especially the teachers. Buy it for your children’s director for Christmas (I just did, but shhhh, don’t tell him). This book does a fantastic job reiterating the importance of the Gospel, but it does not stop there. Klumpenhower gives the reader multiple resources, lessons, methods to teach the Gospel effectively to children on a consistent basis. Don’t know how to Show Them Jesus? Read this book, and you will know how to every time you have opportunity to teach kids. And if one kid comes to know Jesus from this book, it will be worth it.

 

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , ,

Book Review: Biblical Stewardship

Book Review:  Biblical Stewardship by Alfred Martin

The Good:

418mr7kDT+L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_If you have your Bible…This is about as Biblical as a book can be. Scripture is interwoven throughout the pages of this book, and nary was a point made without a Bible verse in support (Did I hear a “nary” in there?).

Wide Focus Lens. Sometimes the concept of stewardship uses too narrow of a lens. What I mean is, when stewardship is mentioned, money is the only thing that is discussed. Well, Martin takes a different approach and discussed how stewardship is a whole-life behavior.

Class Dismissed. This was like taking a seminary level class on the subject of stewardship. The concept of stewardship is so important, and this in-depth look on this lifestyle was enlightening.

The Bad:

Absolutely absolute. On rare occasion, I did catch some absolutes or some verbiage that was a little too strong or dogmatic. It was rare, but still need to be cautious in your read. For example, there was the thought of never saying anything to another Christian about how they spend their time, lest you judge. My response would be, “What if their time is spent in sin?”

Good Morning Class. The flip side of this book being more academic is it sometimes felt that way. With a quiz booklet attached, I felt like I was focused more on studying for a pop quiz than remembering and meditating on key concepts.

The Grade: B. You may not label this book as earth-shattering, but it does still have value. Many pastors do series on stewardship yearly or often, and this would be a good buy for that purpose. It also is a smart read for those early in their marriage or early in the faith as they can properly learn to use what God has given them properly, even their lives.

 

Tagged , , , , , ,

5 Tips for One of the Most Important Jobs of a Youth Leader – Budgeting

Here’s a question for you as a youth pastor or youth leader – What is one of the best way you can gain respect from the pastors, boards, parents, and other adults of your church? In a word…budget. Your budget, like it or not, allows you to gain respect from others in the church. Both developing and maintaining a budget builds integrity, accountability, and trust into your ministry. It can be that powerful. So that being said, what are some tips to make this budget thing happen…

  1. Start Early. Budgeting for the next year should not start in the last week of December. It should be a year-long consideration. As you go throughout the year, make notes for the coming year of budget needs and decreases. For example, if your senior class next year is increasing significantly, then you will need to increase your senior gift budget. If your junior high class is a small one, then adjust your junior high budget accordingly.
  2. budgeting-tips.pngAdditions.  What a blessing to add ministry budget lines. Just recently, we began a dedicated junior high ministry. With a vision to continue to expand this ministry, it now became time to consider adding this as a separate line item.
  3. Subtractions.  It’s life. Programs do not always work or need to be retooled. Don’t leave “Boogie Fever” night from the 70’s on your budget line 30 years later. It’s time to retire the bell bottoms and delete that line item.
  4. Keep Track. Keep a log of all your expense throughout the year and keep a conversation going with your budget administrator. Again, a budget builds trust equity, and if you are way over budget and do not realize it, it does not build trust.
  5. Reflect Your Vision. Your budget should reflect your philosophy of ministry and your vision. If your vision is to reach the lost, then your budget should prioritize outreach. If your vision includes spiritual growth, then your budget may need to have an increase in curriculum or resources. Sure there is balance, but there also needs to be purpose to your budget.

 

Tagged , , ,

Book Review: Follow Me

Book Review:  Follow Me by David Plattfollow-me

The Good:

Don’t Skip the Intro. Maybe it is a habit from your high school days of skipping the introduction of your book report book, so you could read the entire book by the next day…but I would suggest to break that habit with this book. Francis Chan provides a powerful testimony in this introduction that you do not want to miss.

Storyteller Extraordinaire. This dude can tell a story. One of the best storytellers I have read. He takes you into the story and you do not want to leave. Using personal stories and illustrations, these stories are powerful enough to make this book come alive.

Preach it! You can tell Platt is a preacher. His one-liners throughout the book give you chuckles and also elbows to your sides. Also, there were times where you can almost hear the pulpit being thumped (in a positive way) as he brings it! Chapter 7 is an example where you want to scream “you tell ‘em” or “amen”.

The Bad:

He, not he. You may think this is nitpicking, but not for me. When referencing the Creator God, you must capitalize the pronouns referring to Him. See how I just did it there. In this book, grammatically correct or not, it needs to be done.

The Grade: A. Seriously, you will love Jesus more after reading this book. It is some powerful and motivating material. If you are not motivated to share Jesus with others more after reading this book, you either need to check your spiritual hearth, or check your physical pulse! I strongly recommend this book to rejuvenate your love for the Gospel and your desire to share it with others.

Tagged , , , ,

What Can Unplugging Your Cell Phone Do For You?

It’s true. I decided to not use my cell phone for 24 hours, and I lived to tell my story. A generation ago, this statement would be ridiculous. A cell phone is a luxury. Even as a high school student, zackmorris_0the only cell phone I knew was the one Zack Morris carried around on the Saved by the Bell set.  It looked more like a VCR than the cell phones of today. That thing was huge!

Now, technology has brought us the internet on our phones. Our phones can track the amount of steps we take, capture moments with video and pictures, and can answer your questions (by the way, ask Siri “What is zero divided by zero”, it’s hilarious). I’ve written on this before, how technology is taking over our lives. So rather than go down that negative road, let’s take a positive spin on this. What if we unplugged? What would happen? Could you live? In a recent survey of 16-22 year olds, over half said they would give up their sense of smell sooner than they would give up their phones. Yes, you just read that correctly. And don’t even get me started on the Petextrians.

You might be thinking this is such a crazy thing to do. What was I thinking? Would I be able to breathe? What happens if there was a question that only Siri could answer? Would I have to talk to my family, play with my kids, and pay attention to my surrounding? I know, this was big time.

What made me to wade into such dangerous waters? What would make me risk my technology life? Well, it started with a simple jab from my 7-year-old daughter. She asked if I would sit by her on my morning off and play games and watch her favorite show…and then she said…and not check your phone. Like a ton of bricks hitting me upside the head. It’s time Jeff. It’s time.

So, as the first man who entered space, I embarked on an adventure, not knowing if I would make it. And, I did not perish from this risky experiment. In fact, I am alive to tell you these lessons I learned from unplugging my phone…

Being Still. Those of us that have smart phones, what is the first thing you do when you are sitting still, bored, or have nothing to do? You pull out your cell phone. You finger flick through Instagram, check your fantasy football team, or check how many likes your Halloween costume selfie got in the past 3 minutes. What if you decided to just “Be Still”? When was the last time you followed God’s advice in Psalm 46:10 and just was still before God? I’m here to tell you, it’s wonderful.

indexYou Have to Communicate. During this hiatus, my wife went to the grocery store while I was home with the kids. She knew I was “unplugged”, which meant I had no idea when she would be back. Home alone with 3 kids, and not knowing when your wife was going to be back. Ahhhh!!!! I told you it was dangerous waters. But seriously, communication becomes a larger factor, and that’s a good thing. A good reminder of how important communication is in relationships.

Quality Time. Quality time with your kids is not quality time if you have your phone out. We are good at holding this rule at the dinner table, but fail during other period of times. For example, during movie night with the kids, I purposefully will keep my phone upstairs so I can make sure the buzz or ding of the phone does not distract from the snuggles and popcorn.

Clear-Headed. There is just so much information to filter on your phones. Social media, news stories, sports information, pictures, texts, voicemail, emails…and the list goes on. Your brain needs time to refresh itself. A good 24 hour phone cleanse can be helpful.

Maybe I’m the only one that spends a little too much time on their phone. By not having a nervous breakdown after 24 hours without my phone shows me it’s not out of control. However, this time away did present some great lessons.

So, I’d encourage you to try the 24 hour challenge. You may learn your children’s names. You may not get hit by a car. You may look up long enough to see the sun is still in the sky. See, the benefits are numerous. But seriously, you may just need to be still, no WiFi and all!slide-to-power-off

Tagged , , , , , , , ,