Showing posts from April, 2012

#OC12-Navigating the Fifth/Sixth Transition

My last workshop at Orange was led by Daniel Scott.  He shared about the 5th/6th grade transition.  Here are my notes:
The Kids-What is Generation Z?Born Between 1994 and 2010Over 16 million in the US aloneThis Year's 5/6 Graders: 1999-2001Most are growing up in a post 9/11 worldThey are more over-protected and over-parented than any previous generation.Tween-Agers-Do they even exist?Origins of the word: Late 90's when marketing companies studied brand awareness with 7-12 year olds (i.e. stores like Justice, Limited Too, etc.) Buying power: Tweens spend $30 billion on clothes, music, toys, and entertainment each year.Youngest mother in 2011 was 11 years old.What do they face?Home: Untraditional6 living generationsSeniors 1900-1928Builders 1929-1945Boomers 1946-1964Busters 1965-1980Millenials 1981-1993Generation Z 1994-2010School: UnconventionalCulture: Unprecedented"The problem: our culture is redefining the word, kid.""Culture is focused on raising your kids a c…

#OC12-How to Have a Marriage Strategy When You Already Have Too Much To D

On Thursday afternoon at Orange, I attended a workshop led by Ted Lowe.  I had attended his seminar at the AMFM conference in Dallas last summer.  I enjoyed his passion for marriages.  You can visit his website here

Here are the notes from his workshop:

Our research has shown that most "marriage ministries" are a strategy by default. The church spends most of their time "reacting" to the needs of the minority rather than being responsive to the needs of the majority.

Every church is doing something to help marriages.  But in order to make a real difference in the lives of married couples, churches need a marriage strategy.

How do we move from "Something to Help Marriages" to a "Strategy to Help Marriages"?
Begin with the end in mind.The purpose of your strategy and the purpose of marriage is one and the same: to be a great reflection of the relationship between Christ and your church.A great reflection: Married People loving God, Married people l…

#OC12-Casting Orange Vision to Parents

I also attended a workshop by this title led by Terry Scalzitti.  Here are my notes:

Know Your Audience
80% of parents say that the church as done little or nothing to help them become better at parentingChurches today have lots of good studies, messages, and programs that make them feel good about connecting with parents, but nothing really changes at home.  What happens at home is more important than what happens at churchFour Levels of Partnership with ParentsAware-Parents who are outside the church but are open to it and are interested in becoming better parentsInvolved-Parents who have a basic entry-level relationship with the church. They are taking steps to influence their kids spiritually.Engaged-Parents who are committed to partnering with the church and take responsibility for spiritual leadership in their home.Invested-Engaged parents who understand the strategy and partner with you to influence parent groups in the community.The classic mistake most churches make is to try …

#OC12-Worship Basics for Preschool & Children

Here is the first of many more posts from the Orange Conference.  This is from a workshop I attended led by Yancy.  My notes are below:

Music is a powerful way to connect with kids.

Yancy shared the following stat: By age 18, we have 10,000 songs in our brains.

She started by sharing ways we can use music in ministry.  They are:
Create environmentBefore and After ClassUse as countdownsUse as opening/ice breaker songsUse songs to reinforce the messageHave praise & worship-She then focused on this for the rest of the workshop.  She said we need to give kids the opportunity to worship.  This involves us teaching them how to respond and participate.  She read Psalm 8:1-2 from The Message. Here are thoughts she shared regarding praise & worship:
Worship is communication (God & group)Leading worship is more about your leadership ability than your musical abilityDefine what you want to teach about worship for every age groupGive kids the right size piece of worship for their age gro…

Family Service Project at H.E.S.

These are just a few pictures from our family service project at Hesston Elementary this morning.

I am thankful for the opportunity to serve with my kids and church family.  I am also glad we were able to help out our local schools as well.

As you can tell from the picture above, even Molly and Jerrick got busy. 

The boys shows us how its done.  It also reminded me of Sticky Faith and the discussion about serving together as families starting at a young age.

Thank you to all who participated!

Orange Conference Notes Coming Soon!

I am sitting in airport ready to get home. I will be posting notes from Orange Conference over the next week. Check back for thoughts from Andy Stanley, Doug Fields, Kara Powell, Jon Acuff, Ted Lowe, Dan Scott,  Yancey, & Terry Scalzitti.

Craig Groeschel at Orange Conference

This morning, Craig Groeschel had a great message at Orange.  He started by asking this question, "What is success for the next generation?"  He said culture would say, "well-rounded, well-educated and happy kids."  He then shared Psalm 71:18 which talks about the next generation knowing the power of God. 

Here is his answer to the question above:
We are called to unleash single-minded, Christ-centered, biblically-anchored, world changers. What does this phrase mean?
Single-minded means our kids understand their gifts and calling and are not average at a little bit of everything going against being well-rounded.Christ-centered is focused on Jesus not being moral or religion centered.Biblically-anchored means they hide God's Word in their hearts and know the BibleWorld changers focus on making a difference and focus on others. He then read from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and shared his thoughts on who to impart this passage to the next generation.  He explained this as th…

Opening Session at Orange Conference

The Orange Conference kicked off on Wednesday night in Atlanta.  After some humor and powerful worship, Reggie Joiner shared a few thoughts as we began our time together.  If I had to title his message, it would be, "The Gospel is Messy."

Here are a few quotes from Joiner:
 "You can't do what you do without getting messy." "Jesus couldn't do what He did without getting messy." "We can't make disciples without getting messy." "There's no way to make disciples without them getting messy." Referencing the greatest commandments, Joiner said, "We need to be careful to not minimize what Jesus maximized." "We need to engage in a gospel that puts us all in the same family. Trust a God who is bigger than your church." "We need to engage in a gospel that compels us to a bigger story. Trust a God who is bigger than their situation." We ended our evening in worship focusing on Jesus life, death, and re…

Bonus Workshop at Orange Conference

Today, I was able to participate in a "bonus" workshop before the Orange Conference officially began.  I attended a workshop entitled, "Redefining the Family Experience in the First 30 Seconds."  Here are a few notes from the workshop:
First Impressions--Pay attention to your space focusing on smell, clutter, & cleanliness.  What does your children's space communicate to mom or dad?Lose the Boring Colors.  Avoid beige, white, egg shell.  Bright colors can improve a space for little money.Theming-If you can develop a theme, let it tell a story, think about design destinations, and provide ownership (does it connect to culture of the church?)Check-In Areas--Make it big, Make it obvious, Make it funSignage (exterior & interior).  It should be visually engaging, completely intuitive, and up high for parents. Check back after lunch for notes from Wednesday night's session.

Workshops at Orange Conference

As you read this, I am arriving in Atlanta for the Orange Conference.  I have never attended before and I am looking forward to the learning, refreshment, & new ideas.  Here are the workshops that I will be attending over the next few days:
Worship with preschoolers 5th/6th Grade TransitionHow to Have a Marriage Ministry When You Already Have Too Much To DoSharing Orange Vision with Parents Check back over the next few days for notes from main sessions and workshops.

Keeping Family Worship Fresh by Jason Zellmer

Jason Zellmer is pastor of Peine Ridge Church in Wentzville, MO.  I have come to appreciate his thoughts on the church and  family.  His church hosts St. Louis Family Camp.  You can visit his church website here and the camp here.

Have you ever felt like your family worship time was monotonous? Do you ever wonder if you children have grown bored with your daily devotions or sensed they’ve lacked focus? We know that the bible is living and active, and that it is only because of our own depravity that the sharpness of scripture could become dull. None the less, we should recognize that supplemental reading can be helpful as a way of keeping our family worship times fresh.

The foundational elements of family worship time are bible reading, singing and prayer.  In each of these pillars the focus must remain upon Christ.  In addition to this, catechisms, scripture memorization, and stories can be helpful equipping tools. One of the supplemental reading series that I’ve been doing…

What I Am Reading

Here is an updated list of what I am reading now:

Give Them Grace by Fitzpatrick & ThompsonFamily Shepherds by BauchamReal Marriage by DriscollGospel-Centered Discipleship by Dodson

Concerning Sex

Did I just say the word?  Yes, I did.  As I shared last week, I finished reading a book on marriage by Dave Harvey.  Here are a few thoughts from one of the final chapters on sex.

"We are called by God to become devoted to sexually satisfying our spouse." Referring to 1 Corinthians 7:1-5, Harvey writes, "God has designed the sexual relationship as a key expression of this reality, for when sex is at its best, my delight in and enjoyment of sex is almost indistinguishable from the pleasure experienced by my spouse. The joy of sex, then, is the pleasure derived from giving our spouse his or her conjugal rights." C. J. Mahaney said, "Indeed any married person who rightly sees these verses as commands from God will bring to the marriage bed a servant's mindset that places the primary emphasis on the sexual satisfaction of his or her spouse." "We are called to depend on him at every moment and in every area--including our sex life." "most se…

Orange Conference

I will be attending The Orange Conference in Atlanta Wednesday, April 25th through Friday, April 27th.  I plan to share notes from workshops and the main sessions.  Check back starting Thursday, April 26th for ideas and things I am learning.

To learn more about Orange, visit their website here

Stubborn Grace

On Thursday, I finished reading When Sinners Say "I Do" by Dave Harvey.  This book has been good reminding me (and you) that grace is vitally important in marriage.  The author writes about the need to show the gospel in our most intimate human relationship.  I wanted to share a few quotes from Chapter 8.

"The grace that justifies (declaring us holy in God's sight) becomes the grace that sanctifies (making us ever more holy in daily life). It is a prevailing, unstoppable grace that doesn't close up shop the day after the sinner's prayer. It's the power of god to help us overcome sin, and a potent weapon in the fierce struggles that accompany life after the honeymoon of conversion. Conversion, like a wedding, is hardly the end of the story--it's just the beginning!" "Grace is a permanent fixture in the life of every Christian, a divine force constantly on the job, a 24/7 truth applier standing over all we do." "Grace meets us right …

What A Night!

Last night was one of those nights that you love being in ministry.  I started the evening by visiting with two children and their moms about their decision to follow Christ a week ago.  It was a fun conversation.  I look forward to seeing how God works in their young lives.

This was followed by a "busting out the seams" fuzion group.  fuzion is our 5th/6th grade ministry that averages 24 students, but last night they had at least 30.  When it was time for their lesson, they were overflowing into the fellowship hall from their classroom.  What a great "problem" to have!

Then the evening ended by talking with two more children about their decision to follow Christ.  All I can say is, "Praise God!"

D6 2012 Promo Video

A blessing for your day

I finished reading The Family Blessing by Rolf Garborg this past week.  In it, he encourages parents and grandparents to bless their children and grandchildren.  However, he ends the book by showing the importance of blessing others in our lives outside our families.  He uses Jesus as the example as He blessed the little children. 

So, here is my blessing for you today:

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13)

Are They Listening?

Have you been leading family worship or having a spiritual conversation with your child and wonder if they are hearing anything you say?  Do you feel like they are present in the room, but far, far away in their thoughts?  Have you wanted to quit passing on faith in the home because you are sure your kids are not listening?

I have a story to tell you.  In Hide N Seek, our mid week program for 4 year olds through 4th grade, we have devotions to complete each week.  They are family driven so the whole family gathers together to read Scripture, pray, and sing.  This past week, the activity was to review the year.  We have been learning more about the ACTS acrostic (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication).  The kids were to try and remember the five activities we did to help us better understand adoration.  When I originally wrote the devotions, I expected kids to get a few and then look up the rest for review.  However, I praised God because between my four kids, they were abl…

In the Now

Tullian Tchividjian closes his book, Jesus + Nothing = Everything with two great chapters, but I wanted to share some thoughts specifically from Chapter 11.  In this chapter, he challenges us not to just know this information, but live it.  I again recommend this book to all of you.  Here are my final quotes from this book:
"It's one thing to affirm the gospel; it's something altogether different to experience its power where the rubber meets the road of life." "my passion, as a preacher and a pastor and a Christian, is to show others how the gospel of grace really speaks with practical hope into everything that fallen people will face in this broken world." "Paul doesn't pray that the Colossians will find something they don't have; rather he prays they'll grow in their awareness and understanding of what they already have." "Bad behavior happens when we fail to believe that everything we need, in Christ we already have; it happens…

Chapter 10 from Jesus + Nothing = Everything

So, we just finished celebrating Holy Week.  As you reflect on that experience, did it help you better understand this equation: Jesus + Nothing = Everything?  Chapter 10 from the book by Tullian Tchividjian helps us.  I hope the quotes below inspire you to become more gospel centered.
"But when God's amazing grace in the gospel grips our hearts, the motivational structure of our hearts is radically changed, and we begin to obey out of faith not fear, gratitude not guilt." "The Bible never starts with what we need to do; it always begins with what God has already done." "We spend more time asking what would Jesus do instead of what did Jesus do." "One of the reasons we experience so much failure in the Christian life is that we think more about obligations then we do gospel declarations."

Happy Easter!

Wishing you a great day of celebrating the resurrection of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  As Newsboys sing, "Our God's not dead, He's surely alive.  I am thankful that Christ Arose (which happens to be my favorite hymn during Easter). 

Happy Easter from the Martin's!

Power of Words

If you were to record the words to your children into two columns today, what would it show?  In one column, include the words of blessing or encouragement you shared and in the other words of condemnation, cursing, name calling, etc.  I am reading The Family Blessing by Rolf Garborg and this past week I was reading a few chapters from the book.  He shares the following verse from Proverbs 18:21:
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." He writes that not only is a daily blessing of our children important, but it also important to consider the words we use throughout the day.  Previously, I have written about blessing my children with words from Numbers 6 or Ephesians 1.  These words remind them who they are and whose they are.  But he challenges us as parents to think about all of our words.  Proverbs reminds us that our words can be also death to our kids.

What does this look like?  He talks about nicknames which can be sl…

He was pierced

Today, we remember the day Jesus suffered, bled, and died for you and me.  I have been going through a reading plan from YouVersion during Lent.  It has selected about 40 passages to prepare our hearts and minds during Lent.  It has been helpful to read over and over what Christ did for us.  Below I have included a verse to remind each of us that the pain and suffering that Jesus endured was because He loves us, He wants us to be forgiven, He wants us to have peace, He wants to bring healing.  Don't take this for granted, but instead thank God for the gift of Jesus and the salvation He offers.  Have you said yes to Jesus?
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,and with his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

Step Up Night

Last night was Step Up Night at our church.  Step Up Night is when 4th, 6th, & 8th graders move up to the ministry they will be a part of next school year.  This night always includes excitement and apprehension.  Excitement because of it being new and apprehension because of the uncertainty and a different group to get to know.  Pizza, ice cream sundaes, and other goodies help to make it a night of fun.

These promotion-like events started me thinking about adulthood.  Do we have opportunities in our spiritual growth to "step up" as adults?  We tend to get in a Sunday School class and then stick with it for the rest of our lives.  How do we know we are progressing in our faith?  Do we need this?  I appreciate Brian Haynes Legacy Milestones because it gives these "steps" from birth through adulthood.  We can be checking how we are doing by evaluating our life based on Milestone 7.  See his website here.  I also am excited about our CHRIST acrostic at Hesston MB…

Article in Christian Leader

Here is an article that I recently wrote for the Christian Leader, April/May 2012 Issue.

Click here.