Which Will You Choose – SLOW DOWN OR FALL DOWN?

It’s the holiday season.  Christmas parties, outreaches, end of year budgets, family commitments, dinner parties, shopping, shopping, shopping…the list never ends!

There’s a reason why people use the phrase “hustle and bustle” when speaking of the holiday season.  It’s the nature of the beast.  There’s not a lot you can do about the stress and speed that the holidays bring…or is there?

Something very important I have learned from my pastor (who learned it from Bill Hybels) is that there is a direct correlation between the SPEED of our lives and the DEPTH of our souls.

There are seasons in our lives when things are moving at a much more rapid pace than others.  The Holidays seem to be one of those times.  A smart leader is realistic about his/her own condition.  A wise leader adjusts his soul time to match his life speed.  Let me explain:

In times of speed and stress, the average Christian has a tendency to skimp out on the care of their soul (daily prayer, Bible study, worship).  After all, “I’m too busy.”  Bill Hybels talks extensively in his book, “Too Busy Not To Pray” that the opposite is really the case.  Significant growth and moments with God don’t happen at a speed of Mach 2.

“So, what am i supposed to do, Brian?  Cancel all of my holiday commitments?”  Not at all.  Instead, each of us must make a conscious choice and ask ourselves – will we maintain our sense of soul as speed increases?

As a leader, your spiritual growth matters even more!  Your time with God is even more important!  You can’t give what you don’t have.  As the speed of the holidays ramps up, CHOOSE to slow down and spend MORE time in God’s presence.

“But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

– Isaiah 40:31

Stop Being So Defensive!

Defensiveness is an issue that causes a lot of harm in mentoring relationships – or any relationship for that matter.  When we are challenged, confronted, or questioned as Kidmin leaders – sadly we often respond with a knee-jerk, reflex response that does more harm than good.

For years, my insecurity caused me to struggle with being defensive.  Under the hurt feelings and protests is a deep sense that I’m not adequate, personally or professionally—or both.  No one is above correction, and we can all learn to handle it with grace.  Sometimes, I do a pretty good job of controlling my outward appearance when someone criticizes me, but I’m dying inside.  When this happens with my pastor, his perception kicks in.  He tells me, “You’re doing a great job in controlling the tone of your voice and looking relaxed while you’re still being defensive.”

He nailed me.  When I bristle from correction, I need to look into my heart to see what I’m trusting in.  I can then choose to thank God for his love and grace, and I can accept the correction as a gift instead of a threat.

Here’s the principle: When your actions are corrected, it doesn’t mean your character is being questioned.  Chill out and learn from the challenge instead of defending yourself to the death!

I Started The Process Of Dying Today

I realize I might have startled some of you with the title of this post.  No, I do not have a sickness – nor am I physically dying in any way.  I apologize if I gave some of you a panic.

Today, Good Friday, the day we remember the death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross over 2,000 years ago – I began a journey with many people in my church.  It is a thirty day challenge called “LIVE DEAD.”

“LIVE DEAD” is a challenge to live life wholly for Jesus.  To die to self, knowing God will do a greater work through you.  It is a devotional book that has writings from many missionaries to East Africa.  It challenges us to give a “tithe” of our time each day (for 30 days) to God in prayer, study of the Word, worship, and interceding for the 40% of our world’s population that have NEVER heard the name of Jesus.  I know that figure sounds astounding, but you can learn more about it on the LIVE DEAD website.

Why do I share this with you?  First, for accountability.  By publicly declaring my intentions, I believe it will keep me that much more focused on the goal.  Second, to bring awareness to each Christian about the need for all of us to LIVE DEAD.  Christ died so that we could live, yes.  He also commanded each of us to die to self.

On this Good Friday, I pray that you will be reminded that it’s not about what we can GET from Jesus, it is about what we can GIVE to Him.  To honor Him.  To honor His reason for leaving Heaven and coming to Earth.  That reason:  “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17)

Killing The Invisible Gorilla

OK, now before the folks at PETA start picketing my blog – let me explain.

Ever heard the expression “monkey on my back”?  It refers to a problem or irritation that just won’t seem to go away.  A looming deadline, a staffing issue, a recurring problem.  These “monkeys” can be irritating.

However, I am not talking about those little “monkeys” in this blog.  Have you ever woke up with such heaviness, such a weight bearing down on you it’s like a 900 lb gorilla sitting on your chest?  You know that you have something huge to face today – a huge interview, a confrontational conversation, a major report or writing project.  It is such a BIG DEAL that you almost have to give yourself a pep talk just to get out of bed and face the day.

Those “invisible gorillas” can steal your joy, distract your thinking, and zap your motivation.  The obvious answer to kill this gorilla is prayer.  When I hit my knees and “cast my cares upon Him” (Psalm 55:22), I feel that load lift.  God will take the weight of that “invisible gorilla” and replace it with His comfort and peace.  After all, Jesus promised us “my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).

Another secret weapon I have for killing those “invisible gorillas” is music.  There’s something liberating and joyous about music that gets me fired up.  I have one song in particular that has been a “gorilla killer” for many years.  It is Donnie McClurkin’s “Just A Little Talk With Jesus” (click on the link to find it i-Tunes).  Although I am definitely a ROCKER at heart, this black gospel song just gets me revved up – and the invisible gorilla just disappears as I remember that God is in control!!!

What about you?  What do you do to kill the invisible 900 lb gorilla sitting on your chest?  What song do you play that just instantly changes the mood and gets you motivated to slay the gorilla?  Share your comments below.

Book Review: “Jumping The Track” by Roger Fields

When I first began seeing Roger tweet about the book he was writing, he was billing it as “The Kidz Blitz Story.”  That is a major understatement!  While this book does chronicle the story of how the Kidmin phenomenon KIDZ BLITZ got started, it is so much more than that!

“Jumping The Track” is Roger’s story.  It’s the story of a man who refused to follow the mold set by others in ministry.  It’s the story of a man’s struggle with his own overwhelmingly shy personality to become a mesmerizing stage host and people-person.  It’s the story of a man who broke through tradition into a dynamic faith experience.  It’s all that and much more!

Roger is a gifted storyteller.  After reading the book, I feel like I was right there with him, Tammie, Terra, Shannon, Mica, and Morgan for the whole journey.  I literally laughed out loud as Roger shared some of his early ministry mistakes.  I was truly challenged as I read about his leaps of faith to start Kidz Blitz.

“Jumping The Track” refers to being willing to abruptly change directions in life at the Lord’s command.  Rather than follow a pre-set strategy and list of long-term goals, Roger suggests that each of us should “hold on loosely” to the trajectory of our lives and be open to the voice of God.  He may call each of us to “Jump The Track.”  If so, will we be so tightly clinging to our long-term goals and human vision that we miss out on His plan?

I encourage each of you to purchase this book.  It will challenge you to think differently about life, ministry, and faith – in a good way!

“Developing A Heart Of Worship In Kids” pt. 1


“We usually do sets of 3 songs, 2 fast and one slower.  We’d like to have extended worship occasionally but how best can we handle that when some of the kids are not mature enough spiritually for more than a few minutes of worship?”  submitted by Dorrie Champagne – Agawam, Massachusetts

Worship is an important part of the Christian life.  It is a time of devoted focus toward God, expressing our love to Him.  In order to develop a heart of worship in children who are new in the faith (or young in age), there are some practical steps you should take.

1)  Understand each child’s journey into worship

As Children’s Leader, we need to take the children on that Sunday’s journey to the place of worship.  Understand that every child is coming from different places into kids church.  This includes the personal atmosphere that each child brings in with them.  Some kids are coming out of Sunday School or small groups where they have heard a lesson, played games, done crafts, ate snacks.  Other kids are coming from a home where there is major stress, may have witnessed an argument that morning, didn’t have breakfast, had too much breakfast, didn’t get enough sleep, don’t feel well, etc.  Be sensitive to each child’s journey, and do your best to help them along the way.

2)  Teach regularly about worship.

Explain the reason for worship – “to show and express our love to God.”  As often as possible, teach on the meaning, the methods, and results of worship.  Why do we raise our hands?  Why do we close our eyes?  Is there a “perfect” way to worship.  We tell our kids “It is not so important HOW you worship, but it is important THAT you worship!”

3)  Make sure you and your leaders actively demonstrate worship.

When you are actively engaged in worship, the kids see this, and it sends a strong message to them that worship is important.  If you or your leaders are not actively engaged in worship, this sends the opposite message.

Kids will imitate what they see.  Actively engaging in worship for kids often starts here, but it needs to move to the arena of inner purpose.  Kids are great at reading the group acceptance of worship.  Many kids lift their hands and go through the motions only because that is the accepted thing to do.  Do not be blind to this social reason for worship.  Let it begin here, but help them move to making it personal.  It’s not about imitation and duplication.  It is about adoration.

MORE TO COME in pt. 2…