Monthly Archives: September 2009

An Attempt to Thank a Supportive Wife

<img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-1660″ title=”jennandblackberry.jpg” src=”” alt=”jennandblackberry.jpg” width=”300″ height=”248″ />

When trying to describe the amazing job my wife does in supporting me… I would have liked to use an analogy. Nothing I came up with really said what I was trying to say.

She keeps me uplifted and where I’m supposed to be… just like a good bra.

She helps me in my daily walk… like a Dr. Sholes shoe insert.

She keeps me straight… like a retainer.

Like a neck brace… she keeps my head on straight.

She helps me take things slow when I should… like a speed bump.

Like a Jr. High yearbook photo… she reminds me of how far we’ve come.

She keeps me focused… like a locker room peephole.

She keeps me motivated… like a pound bag of Peanut M&amp;M’s.

And last, but not least…

Like a glass of water from Mexico… she helps me get rid of my crap.

None of these things do her justice. She is truly amazing. I know that not only am I a better person because of her… but that my life, and every other life she shares hers with, is a better life for it. Literally, opportunities would not otherwise be a possibility without her with me. She is a close rival for 1st place in my heart… the only one who beats her is The One who gave her to me.

Thanks Jenn.

Feeling God’s Love Feels Good


Due to my schedule this week, I’m not on my usual (nearly) daily blogging schedule… but I wanted to just share a little of what I’m experiencing from God right now. My hope is that it will lift you up.

I really feel like God loves me right now.

I always know he does… but we live in a world that makes that fact a little less than obvious sometimes. Knowing God loves me has carried me through a lot of rough times. Trusting and believing that He has my best in mind… that He’s out there watching over me… that He will never leave or forget about me… those things keep me going on and standing as strong as I can. But that being said, it’s nice to have the feeling once in a while too.

I’ve never been very touchy-feely with God. My childhood taught me that you can’t trust your feelings. So I trusted in hard facts about God. That was safe… ultimately I suppose they took less faith to believe in as well, but I digress. I obviously over compensated, as we adults often do, and so rather than the sensible thing, experiencing feelings but not making life changing decisions based on them, I grew to despise them. They were something for weaker Christians… I didn’t need them. I was almost proud of the fact that I didn’t need to FEEL God in order to believe in Him.

But it got lonely.

I feel the love of my wife. My children are both crazy about me… I love the way that makes me feel. Feelings are awesome… so I really wasn’t opposed to them… only when it came to the spiritual side of things. I wish I had more to write down at this point… but now we’re caught up to the current day… and I’m totally blown away with the amount of love that God, my Father, has expressed to my family.

You know how you feel when someone gives you the perfect gift? A gift that shows that shows you how well they know you? It may not even be very expensive… or maybe it’s even handmade… but the sentiment behind the gift makes it priceless. Have you ever cried after opening something at a birthday or Christmas? I have (it was a Buzz Lightyear watch)… but this gift that God is giving to us is so personal, so perfect, so spot-on… it simply blows my mind. It truly feels like a dream. Unreal.

God’s love feels good for a change. It’s nice.

Let’s be honest, sometimes His love hurts. It urges us to grow and go to places we’re not comfortable going. It shines the light of Truth into the dark corners of our souls… places where ugly things hide. It’s not fun being broken and rebuilt for His use. It doesn’t feel good. I guess I thought that’s all there was. Maybe I was just really screwed up and needed a lot of extra work. Maybe I just fought it and hurt myself. Who cares.

God, thank you for your amazing love. I’ve always had it… but thanks for making it feel so good this time. *tears*

To Be Or Not To Be

<img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-2009″ title=”do-not-want” src=”” alt=”do-not-want” width=”425″ height=”500″ />

Just a quick thought today… in the form of a question:
<h3>Are you a great spouse &amp; parent, or are you just not a bad one?</h3>
In other words…

<strong>Are you the spouse and/or parent you were created to be… or are you just the product of a list of things you have committed never to be?</strong>

There is a difference.

I realized a while back that though it was a good thing to have a list of things I never wanted to do or be with my wife and kids… basing my goals exclusively on what I want NOT to do was limiting my potential as a husband and father.

<strong>How can you become all you were meant to be if you’re focused more on what you don’t want to be rather than what you could be?</strong>

I don’t want the best I can be to just be a good version of someone else from my past. I want my best to be all that God wants for me to be.

<strong>Confused much? Holler at me in the comments if you get me.</strong>

Children’s Ministry Names – Some Ideas

I’ve written about Children’s Ministry names before, but that was more of a post about the types of names. This time I’m just going to punch out a list of names for Children’s Church right off the top of my head. I cannot confirm or deny if any of these are original or in use somewhere. These are simply offered out of a desire to help those who are searching for Children’s Ministry Names.

Kid Works – A construction or science theme.

InTune – Music or computer theme.

Megaville – City or superhero theme.

JAM City – Jesus And Me, a city theme.

ChurchName Kids – Put your church’s name and add kids to the end. It works.

Xtreme – Extreme sports theme.

Power House – Electricity or explosion themed.

Young Adventures – Explorer themed.

City Kids or Kid City – City themes.

NRG Zone

Power Source

Sonshine Kidz

Kids Life

Sincity – Just checking to see if you’re reading this. 😉

Kids for Christ

Kids Trek

Disciple Ship – Nautical theme.

Volunteer Seekers – Sorry.

Kids Place

Kid Nation


Kidz Zone

Kid Builders

Camp Kingdom

Kid Power

Kid Planet

Action Kids

Big Steps


180 Crew


Kids in Training


Camp Rock



Christ’s Kids

Young Champions

Submitted by @PerryLyons



Kids for Christ

His Little Ones


Tykes for Christ

FYI – The logo above was done by me for a Children’s Pastor via my website If you need a low-cost children’s ministry logo, check it out.

How To Properly Manipulate Your Husband

Yesterday I talked about <a href=””>the scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding</a> where Mom and Daughter were talking. Mom says, “The Husband may be the head, but the Wife is the neck.” or something to that effect. I love that line… because it’s so true.

Today’s post is for the ladies. I want to give you the inside scoop on how to get we men to do pretty much anything you want… assuming you’re intentions are pure.
<h3>1. Be nice.</h3>
We married couples tend to forget how to ask for things nicely. We tend to take one another for granted. It’s assumed that we’re supposed to do this or that. Men like to be treated the same way you do… like they’re not expected to do things. Ask and you shall receive.
<h3>2. Don’t assume we know anything about what you want.</h3>
I used to get into a lot of trouble for not doing things that I never knew needed to be done. If you want your man to do something, you can’t hint around… clearly say what you want.
<h3>2. Tell us what you’re thinking AND feeling.</h3>
We don’t know what your thinking. Even if we have a clue… we don’t know what that means to you. We think differently… so even if you tell us what’s going on in there, we don’t know how it makes you feel. So when you communicate, you might say something like this, “When you don’t do this… it makes me feel….” Sometimes we don’t do what you want because we don’t see it the same way you do. When a loving husband knows how much something bothers his wife… he will change it, fix it or hit it with a club or something.
<h3>3. Let us do it our way in our time.</h3>
We’re not going to do it exactly the same way you do. Most of the time we won’t do it exactly when you want… and it’ll probably take longer as well. Be ready to truly delegate whatever it is you need. Give it away. If you’re going to worry and fret over it the whole time, you might as well keep the task for yourself.
<h3>4. Ask permission to nag in advance.</h3>
Nagging is okay… if it’s done right. Tell us a due date on a project… by the weekend, or maybe a week or so. If you give us a due date, and we don’t do it… that’s permission to nag all you want. We can’t even fight you on it. Reminders work better than nagging. Reminding is gooder.
<h3>5. Treat us how you want to be treated.</h3>
It’s the old Golden Rule. We want the same treatment you want. So even if we’re dropping the ball a bit, give us the benefit of the doubt. Offer to help. Find out if there’s something you could do to help us get motivated. Some of us don’t like making phone calls… maybe you could help us with that part. Some of us hate shopping. If you’ll take the lead on this attitude thing, assuming we haven’t, most men worth a crap will reciprocate.
<h3>6. Brag on every little thing we do. Three times each.</h3>
Men are not as simple as the media portrays us… except in this one way. If you brag on is OMG! OMG! We will lift mountains to get you to do it again next time. Sometimes wives take what we do for granted. If you wanted the roof fixed… then we fix it… it’s not a problem anymore so we’re on to the next issue. Take a moment and be grateful. It’s good for us… and it helps you enjoy the good things that are going on around you.
<h3>7. Pray for us.</h3>
Please, pray for us ladies! We’re a mess. And the better your man is… the more you should pray for him! Being a good man in this world is like running up a down escalator. It’s hard work and we need your support! We’re like computers in that way… if you put good stuff in, you’ll get good stuff out. I guess that’s another way we’re simple.

I know there will be readers who may be angered by this post… that’s fine. Everyone has been hurt by a stupid man, even we men, but that doesn’t give us the right to hate on all of them. There are good men out there… and sometimes they’re ruined because they’re taken for granted and unappreciated. Let’s hear it for the boys. 🙂


Did you enjoy this article? Listen to the podcast: <a href=””>Geek Loves Nerd 55 – Manipulate Your Husband</a>

When A Key Volunteer Quits…


What do you do when someone you depended on quits Children’s Ministry? Maybe it’s a top level coordinator or just someone who said they would do music for VBS. The job they were going to do doesn’t matter… the fact that you’re not stuck with it, or unable to do the program because of it, is. It can be easy to panic when you get those emails or phone calls. I’ve recently had this happen to me. It changes things, but I’ll adjust and eventually have the same outcome. I guess that’s the point after all.

Here are some tips for dealing with big jobs that get abandoned.

1. Don’t Panic

This is not a choice you can make just after you’re disappointment happens. This is a choice you make today… before anything goes haywire. Are you going to be a person of action… or reaction? I don’t know about you, but I want to be in control of what comes out of my mouth… and though it’s true that no one can tame the tongue… you can control where the tongue is speaking from. If your heart is focused on the One you live to serve, if you realize who is in control, that heart will overflow out of your mouth when the time comes. Make the choice today to not panic.

2. Don’t Burn Bridges

Like Moses said, “Let your people go!”… kinda. You may be angry, hurt, upset, disappointed… but let them go easy! You’re going to have a ton of feelings toward them… none of them will be good ones. None of them will be based on anything other than what you think they’ve done to you. You can’t base decisions on bad thinking. So make your choice now… when they call or email… let them off easy. I always make a point to let them know that the door swings both ways, in a positive sense. They’re welcome back anytime! I can count on two hands the number of volunteers I’ve gotten back because I gave them a guilt free exit.

3. Trust Your Real Source

Both step one and step two rely on step 3 to work. You’ve got to realize where your help comes from. It’s not a volunteer, your spouse or your pastor… not even in yourself. Your help comes from the Lord (creator of Heaven and Earth). Also, it’s HIS ministry, HIS kids, His church, HIS passion and therefore HIS responsibility. Trust that God has a plan to work everything out for your good and HIS glory. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send you laborers… it’s HIS harvest field… if he wants it harvested, he’ll have to send you folks to help! He does and He will.

4. Think Outside Your Circle

Okay, so the spiritual stuff is good… but what about the help you need? God helps those who help themselves right? Maybe. I prefer to say that we do what we can do and God does what we can’t. If you’re like me, you’ve tapped about just about everyone you know. It may be time to think outside your circle. Pray a bit and ask God to open your mind to someone who may have the right skill set to do what you need done. Ask them directly, letting them know what skills attracted you to them. Offer a limit to their service… say, three months. Tell them they can visit before they commit. If they bite, awesome, if not… keep praying until God delivers.

Trials like this are never fun. They’re one of the more frustrating things you’ll deal with in ministry. But like any struggle, you can just go through it… or you can go through it and have God’s purpose work in you as a result. You’re going to go through it anyway… might as well do it God’s way and get some benefits!

About Roles & Trust In Marriage


In the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” the main character’s mom mentioned something that stuck with me. It went something like this:

“The man may be the head of the house, but the woman is the neck.”

I gotta say… I love that. Never before or since have I heard a better illustration of how a man and wife work together to lead their family. It’s the perfect blend between traditional values and common sense.

In my marriage my wife is more than happy to leave the leadership to me… that’s because she knows I truly have her and the kid’s best interests in mind. I don’t make decisions selfishly. I’m no Giaus Baltar. That being said, I don’t make a single family decision without the complete support and agreement of my wife. We are a team. If we don’t agree, it’s not a right move for us. I trust her even when I’m not crazy about our disagreement on a particular move. In that way she is the neck to my head. We are inseparable. She gives direction and support.

In so many marriages I see spouses struggling with one another over power… over who will lead. Wives unable to trust their husbands and husbands unable to make selfless choices. Neither are able to fulfill their roles in the family because they’re out of sync, each trying to make up for the shortcomings of the other.

Secretly it’s not about power though… it’s about self-preservation and the avoidance of pain, which looks outwardly like a lack of trust and a grab for power. When couples are open and honest with one another about their own fears, they can start working for one another instead of against.

Here are some tips that have worked for Jenn and I when it comes to trusting one another’s roles in our marriage.

1. Figure out what your issues are.

Why are you unable to trust one another? What happened in your past (probably early childhood) that have caused you to make vows to protect yourself.

2. Share those issues, fears and shortcomings openly with your spouse.

Chances are that all of your issues are bumping into your spouses issues. Each of you pushing one another’s buttons unintentionally. This is not a time to be defensive. It’s a time to share your feelings and hear the pain behind them. If someone feels more strongly about something than you can understand… it’s because that’s how big of a deal it is to them.

3. Realize that your spouse is not your enemy or competition. They are your partner, friend and teammate.

If one of you have issues… then you both do. It’s not about one person working it out… it’s about both of you working on your issues together. You are more than a team… you are a unit. What hurts one hurts the other. You can abuse the relationship by taking your frustrations out on one another, or you can stick together and work out your frustrations together. In this way a bad situation can serve to bond you together rather than tear you apart.

4. Do all you can in yourself to help your spouse heal.

Once you figure out the reasons behind your trust issues the healing can begin… but it’s not instant or easy. Every day you have to make a choice to keep working on it and believe what doesn’t seem true… that you can trust those who love you completely. Spouses can help that process along by showing their love in new ways… by making real change that can be felt by the other. That’s where knowing your spouse’s love languages can come in handy.

5. Focus more on your own self-improvement than your spouse’s.

You can’t work on your trust issues if you’re waiting for the other person to start getting better before you do anything. You have to work on your problems like you want them to work on theirs, rather than monitoring them and only going as far as they do. This is the only area you’re supposed to be self-centered in. If we want an better relationship with an improved spouse… we have to become a person who deserves that.

When we can trust our spouse to fulfill their role, we are free to fulfill ours. It’s not about who’s the boss and who’s the slave… it’s like a machine, where every part does a different job… but they’re all equally important because without one if them the machine doesn’t work.

Being Unequally Yoked Stinks!


Today I got an email requesting some information on how to find happiness in a marriage where one spouse is Christian and the other is not.

I just came upon your site & looked through the marriage topic for anything on being unequally yoked. Do you have any wisdom on this subject? I am Born Again and in full-time ministry but my husband is not a Christian. This is becoming harder and harder. Thanks.

I replied asking for any specific questions or angles she’d like to hear about… but I thought I could address the whole topic in a general way.

I’ll start by saying that this is a difficult topic to address since I have never been in this situation personally. I have, however, seen the effect of being unequally yoked on the people involved in such a union, both spouses and children, in my 10+ years of ministry. It’s never ideal and in ever situation it’s a struggle for everyone involved.

Why Is Being Unequally Yoked A Struggle?

When is the last time you got into an heated discussion about Religion or Politics with a friend or co-worker with opposing views? There is nothing in the world people are more passionate about than those two topics. Now imagine being married to that person… sharing a home and a bed with someone who thinks everything you hold dear and sacred is stupid and a complete waste of time.

My wife and I always joke about how different we are… how there is no way we should be able to get along… but the reason it works is because our differences are on the surface. Just underneath we are in complete unity. Our Faith, politics, theories on child rearing, the trust we have in one another, our love for our family… exactly the same. But imagine a marriage where the only thing you have in common is what you eat for dinner, what you watch on TV and where you watch it.

Why Do Christian People Marry Non-Christians?

Most of the time folks who marry someone who is not of the same faith do so because they simply do not think it matters at the time. They believe that they can change the person… or that love will be enough to carry them through. Then others are not very committed to their faith and so their beliefs, though different than their potential mate, are not really practiced and are therefore mostly irrelevant. In rare cases one of the spouses find Christ afterward and then find themselves unequally yoked by accident.

Usually people with a Christian background will begin to depend on their faith more as they age and experience life. Having children also gets people taking their relationship with Christ more seriously. If they were raised in church, they’re typically going to want their kids raised in church. Though the Christian parent has the best intentions, they typically become the ‘bad guy’ of the family forcing children to get up early for church when Dad gets to stay home, enforcing rules that only they believe in… it can really be a huge hassle.

If you are a Christian and single, do yourself a favor. Realize that the feeling of being in love is not what keeps a marriage together… it is the depth of your commitment to what you believe that makes marriage vows stick. It makes so much sense it’s scary. How can you trust your potential spouse to believe in and live out his commitment to you when he doesn’t even share, much less live out, your commitment to God.

Young & In Love? Some Advice


A 17 year old girl asked me for advice last night. She has found The One… she is sure of it…. at 17. She’s struggling with her relationship with God but putting 99% of her energy into her flawed relationship with this guy. Here are some of the things I shared with her that I’d like to share with anyone who is considering marriage.

1. Put 99% of your energy into improving your relationship with God.

Connecting with God through prayer, Bible reading, Church attendance, obedience and struggle will benefit every area of your life. Marriage is basically connecting every part of your life to every part of someone else’s life… so why wouldn’t you want to work on it all rather than just your relationship?

2. You both deserve the best spouse in the world… but you can’t change him nor he you.

Focus on improving yourself rather than trying to change the other person. If they truly love you, they will do the same for you… and you will be able to trust them to do it. Dating someone and committing to marriage is the ultimate acceptance. If you connect in such a way to a severely flawed person, you are accepting the flaws… they will be less motivated to correct and work through them. So many times I see couples focused on the other persons flaws, putting most of their energy into turning the other person into someone they don’t even deserve themselves. We must become a person who deserves the best rather than finding someone flawed and trying to turn them into what we want.

3. Your spiritual life will in many ways be duplicated in your future children.

Most of us would probably admit that though our spiritual lives aren’t perfect… they work for us and are better than they once were. So the question I’ll ask you… would you want to give one of your children your spiritual life? If you said no, then you’ve got work to do. Having our hearts focused on God is the key to every bit of raising a child properly. If you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing… how can you hold a child to a standard you’re not even holding to yourself?

4. I don’t know what I’m eating for dinner tomorrow, much less if I’ve found The One.

We humans are so limited… we can’t even choose where we want to go to dinner on a date… but we’ll be 100% sure that we’ve found the person we’re destined to marry. The truth is we don’t know anything… but we feel everything. Much like a new pair of shoes that we love until they become flawed… the feelings of an exciting relationship can change in an instant. A real relationship is not based on feelings alone.

5. Pray for what you want… but be open to what God wants.

She asked me how she should pray. I reminded her of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was about to be crucified… he was stressed. He prayed something like this… “If there is any other way You can do this… let’s do it that way and leave me out of it.” But then he said, “But not what I want… Let’s do what you want.” That’s how I pray. I pray for the things I think I need in my limited understanding. I ask for solutions that will work out best for me and in my timeline… but then I pause and open my heart and life for God to meet the needs He wants in the way He wants. How many times have thought God wasn’t working in our lives because we limited ourselves to believing that he was going to do things our way?

I don’t know if my advice was heeded… time will tell. I hope so. She’s at such a pivotal time in her life. It seems unfair that a 17 year old has that kind of power. If the 30 year old version of herself could only make an appearance… I’m sure she’d listen to her. Or would she?