Monthly Archives: April 2016

A Devotional for Your Graduates

Below is a brief devotional you can use for your senior night or graduate celebration.  Feel free to use it all, some, or the idea to help bless your graduates and their families…


Priorities.  Now that you will either enter the work force, or have already…or you will go to college.  Your life may get a little more busy, more difficult in some areas, but you will also have more freedom in your choices.  I want to encourage you to keep God your #1 priority.

Matthew 6:33 says “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

  • This verse should be a filter for everything you do, say, buy, drive to, hang out with, date, marry, live…the list goes on.
  • Ask the questions – will this decision help build God’s kingdom and keep me doing the right things for God’s glory.

Please – keep God and His church at the top of your priority list.  There will be times after a late Saturday night that you would rather attend Bedside Baptist with Pastor Pillow and Deacon Sheets.  That’s when your priorities will show up.  It’s those weeks when you have 3 exams but you still take time to spend in God’s Word and prayer.  It’s when you are super busy that you still listen to a friend in class about their issues so you can give them the solution to their problems – the Gospel.

Priorities – I know it’s cliché and it will be written on many of your graduation cards – keep God 1st.  But there is a reason something is a cliché – because oftentimes it’s true, it needs repeated, and you need to hear it.

So in 10 years, when you have careers, families, and that white picket fence – I want you to keep asking yourself – is God my #1 priority…and in 2026, I pray He still is.

Tagged , , , ,

Book Review: Deep Influence

Book Review:  Deep Influence by T.J. Addingtondeepinfluence1

The Good:

Give Me Your Heart.  Right off the bat, the author goes after your heart.  This is not a surface “how-to” leadership book.  It truly follows the title and goes deep into the heart issues of leadership.

Are You Talking to Me?  Application is heavy in this one.  My goodness, the pages are full of tasks for any leader.  From personal exercises to interaction with staff, this book covers all bases of leadership, and provides practical tasks to make it happen.

Listen up Leaders.  This is a true leadership book for those in ministry and in the workplace.  It holds great value for those that want to leave an impact on those around them for generations to come.

Multiplication.  I caught myself saying YES when I consistently heard motivation for discipleship.  This is how it should be.  There needs to be a call for more discipleship and influence of others.  This book does a fantastic job of pleading for more discipleship AND showing the reader how to accomplish it.

The Bad:

Me, My, I.   While it comes close to arrogance at time, the author tends to talk about himself and his position of leadership a great deal.  While I like personal stories, it nearly becomes boasting at times.  The amount of personal pronouns in this book gets to be a little much at times.

Made Me Feel Bad.  OK, so this isn’t really a bad thing.  When you read a leadership book you should walk away challenged and with the realization that you need improvement.  This book will convict you.  You will find something wrong in your leadership, so get ready.

The Grade:  B.  Providing practical, deep, and influential practices of leadership, this book should be picked up by any leader seeking to improve.  Not allowing even the most successful to gain a feeling of arrival, anyone, at any age or accomplishment will find great value in the principles this book’s challenges and practical steps to better leadership.

Tagged , , , , ,

How to Plan a Fear Factor Event

I read recently teens have a wide array of fears. Fear is often what keeps them from doing right and what tempts them to do wrong. Fear takes them places they don’t want to go and holds them hostage when they want to leave. Fear is something we need to talk about.  So that is what got me thinking of doing a “Fear Factor” Event for my youth ministry.  Sure, they may have never heard of the show or might have seen some re-runs…but this stuff never gets old.index

Here’s your planning kit for Fear Factor:


  1. Baby Food Taste Testindex
Empty a variety of different jars of baby food into individual bowls (make sure you know which is which). Label the bowls with numbers and challenge players to taste every bowl and try and guess what it is. To make it more of a challenge, add some food coloring into the food that might be given away by its color. Make sure to have paper and pencils handy so guests can write their answers on them. Points awarded for participants and CORRECT guesses.

2.  Bigger or Better

Some people laugh in the face of gross or gruesome but them go weak in the knees at the thought of something as unassuming as talking to your neighbors. Time to face your social anxiety fears!

In this game you will provide all players (or teams) with a PAPERCLIP. The idea of the game is that they must go around the appointed challenge houses and try and trade it with them for something bigger and better. They can then try and trade that item for something bigger and better to someone else.

Points awarded upon return for best bigger or better.

  1. Iron Toes – Fill a bathtub or kiddie pool with water, marbles, and tons of ICE (you want it to be freezing). The object of the game is for players to stick their foot in the ice water and grab as many marbles as they can in a two minute period. Alternative:  Proof is in the pudding: Contestants dig sardines out of chocolate pudding with their toes. Use time limit
  2. Worm Pie

Place ten gummy worms at the bottom of a pie tin (you’ll need to make one for every player). Next, fill the pie tin with whip cream. On the start of go all players must place their hands behind their back and retrieve all 10 gummy worms with their mouth. This game is perfect for PICTURES, so make sure you have your camera ready! Give time limit and give points for each worm “retrieved”.

Alternative:  Get live worms.  Put them in a large container.  Give a time limit of 1 minute.  See how many they can “retrieve” and put into a container.

2nd Alternative:  Contestants must place their hands in a bucket of live worms and find as many pennies (pre-placed) at the bottom as they can.  Give Time Limit of 1 or 2 minutes.

5.      Lice Pickers

In this game I gave all the players a pair of tweezers and a cup and challenged them to pick as much lice (rice) as they could out of the shag rug and place them in their cups for extermination. They were not allowed to pick up the lice with their fingers, they had to use the tweezers.  Points were awarded by how many lice the players could collect in one minute.

ALTERNATIVE:  Instead of tweezers give each of the child a coffee stirrer straw, and have them suck the lice onto it and transfer it to the cup without touching it with anything other than the straw.  We did this version at my daughters party and it was a hit.  We did not use a shag rug, we mixed the rice in the yarn hair of one of her old cabbage patch dolls.

  1. Pickled-Pigs-Feet Game of Chance:

Make several of each of the following playing cards: 0, 1/4, 1/2, 1, and 2 (i.e. 3 0’s, 6 1/4’S, 3 1/2’s, 3 1’s, and 2 2’s). Have the players sit around a card table and play poker. At the end of the play, each contestant adds up the amount on his/her cards these amounts are the number of pigs’ feet they have to eat.  Points awarded for each participant.

  1. Bobbing for Sprouts – Bobbing for apples may be a time-honored tradition, but there’s not much fear to freak-out over there. Try bobbing for “monster eyes” (brussels sprouts) in a “blood bath”(water with red food coloring).

Frog egg munch time! Have each participant roll a die to find out how many servings of “frog eggs” (tapioca pudding with green dye) they have to eat. To easily serve, spoon your green goop onto saltines crackers.

9.     Walk on Glass

For a walk on glass competition, break several bags of potato chips into pieces of different sizes, including smaller crumbs and larger pieces. Pour the chips on a flat surface, such as flattened cardboard boxes or a plastic tarp. Keep the area hidden from the teens until you’re ready to play. Blindfold the teens and tell them that they’re about to walk across broken glasses. This is a simple activity that doesn’t involve food, but still gets the teens into the Fear Factor feel.

  1. Gross Food Challenge

Go to an “ethnic” food marketplace to purchase tongue, hoof, leg, fish…whatever.  Provide a variety.  Please make sure they are cooked and safe to eat.  Points awarded for all the brave souls.

  1. Hot Sauce Challengelarge.3

Who could take a small spoonful of hot sauce.  Points for trying.  Extra points if no water/liquid was needed afterwards.

  1. Worm Eating Challenge

No need to tell them.  Show them that you aren’t scared to eat a worm.  Bravery of anyone that tries gets points.  They must all eat at ONCE, so the gig is not up.



A few years ago, there was survey done about the biggest fears of youth.  And it was interesting, it had nothing to do with some of the challenges you will face tonight or have seen on re-runs of Fear Factor.  They were much deeper…here are a few examples…

  1. Fear # 10: “I will never have a happy marriage and family.”
  2. Fear # 9: “Someone I know or love will die of AIDS (maybe me!).”
  3. Fear # 8: “I feel like I must have sex to be accepted.”
  4. Fear # 7: “I cannot find time to do everything.”
  5. Fear # 6: “I can’t tell right from wrong.”
  6. Fear # 5: “Peer pressure scares me.”
  7. Fear # 4: “I (or someone I know) will be a victim of violence or crime.”
  8. Fear # 3: “I will not be able to make it financially.”
  9. Fear # 2: “I can’t get a good education.”
  10. Fear # 1: “Something bad may happen to my family.”

(Leadership Journal – Thom Rainer)

It is interesting that God does not leave us with our fears.  That would make Him a horrible Father to us.  Can you imagine me saying to one of my kids “Oh, you are scared of that giant scary monster little girl…well, deal with it”.  No, my desire is to protect my child, help them…and relinquish their fears.

And that is what God does in the Bible.  In fact, there are at least 365 passages (one for each day of the year ) can be found in the Bible that tell us to not be afraid, to not worry or be anxious, to look to Christ for strength and comfort, and be transformed to have a worshipful fear and awe of God.

Just look at all the passages where God told people not to be afraid:  Joshua when he was leading the people of Israel, Mary & Joseph when they saw an angel, Jesus to his disciples, Paul to Timothy, and the list goes on…

Whatever your fears may be – let me just leave you with this – God is the answer to your fears.

  • If it is your future – God has plans for you before you were even born.
  • If it is peer pressure or choosing right from wrong – God’s Word is clear in what decisions you should make
  • If it is death – God tells us that we no longer have to fear death – because if we trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior – death has no more power of us…Jesus defeated death on the cross.

Whether big or small, don’t let your fears stop you.  With God in your life, you can overcome them.  And as we go to houses to do the fear factor challenges…let each challenge be a reminder of how you can overcome fear…with God on your side.


Church Involvement

Rather than just having all the tasks at the church or in the youth facility, take it to the church.  What I mean is, have some people in your church host some fun fear factor challenges.  Make it easier on them by providing a supply list.  If you want to make it even easier, give them the supplies.  When the fear factor teams are made, supply each team with a map to each of the houses.  Have each team rotate houses, and have the host homes do the same thing for each group.



This is totally up to you, but award points based on participation and completion of tasks.  Reward those that are brave enough to eat, grab, hold, or do whatever that is required in these challenges.  They deserve some points for their team, and a towel.


Quick Recap of Plan

  1. Contact host homes for fear factor challenges
  2. Begin working on challenge list
  3. Re-Contact host homes that have accepted invitation – give them detailed description of fear factor challenges that you have picked.
  4. Complete devotional
  5. Gather vehicles
  6. Put together maps/instructions in folder for each group
  7. Optional – provide color bandanas for teams for team spirit
  8. Print out score-sheets for each team
  9. Buy awards for winning team – candy, trophy, etc.
  10. Schedule of Fear Factor night: FOOD/DEVOTIONAL/CHALLENGES/RESULTS & AWARDS 12993529_10156729545910246_6854674320991839023_n
Tagged , , , , ,