Monthly Archives: December 2009

Christmas Story: The Very Last Room

I wrote and illustrated this story for my new church’s Christmas Eve service. Though it’s after Christmas now, I thought I’d share it so I can at least reference it next year.

Imagine if you were the family who took the very last room in Bethlehem… and had to watch Mary being led around back to a stable. That’s the premise of this original Christmas story.

What To Do When Your Son Pukes On Your Wife In Public?

What do you do when your baby pukes out his last three meals all over your wife?

You take the baby and let her run to the restroom!

And if you’re Sam Lussier, with who’s family we were having a delightful lunch, you take a picture of it!

I got major points for the way I swept in and saved the day, allowing her to go and clean herself up. Those points are pointless however now that I’ve posted this photo.

Things I’m Big On In Children’s Church


1. I’m big on being prepared.

Everything should be finished and ready to go before Sunday morning. 90% of frustration alleviation is preparation!

2. I’m big on timeliness.

Each volunteer depends on the others to be at their post on time to serve their role. Parents and Sunday School Teachers depend on us to open the doors promptly. Starting service on time adds predictability which is important to children when establishing order.

3. I’m big on smooth transitions.

I hate downtime. Volunteers who are doing a part of the service should keep their eyes on their schedule and skip ahead. If their segment is coming up, they should be ready (with their team if they have one) and pass me on the steps going up while I’m coming down.

4. I’m not big on unplanned interruptions.

If someone needs the microphone during the service… they need to have asked for it before… or while I’m not on the stage.

5. I’m big on discipline.

I want us to enjoy our time with the kids… and them with us. The way to do that is to maintain an understanding of mutual respect between ourselves and them.

6. I’m big on giving away segments.

I’m not interested in my children’s church becoming the “Pastor James Show”. If there is a leader who would like to assist by taking a segment here and there… or even every week… they only need tell me. Pretty much anything short of the teaching and altar time is available.

Where Is Your Teen?

<img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-2094″ title=”fight” src=”” alt=”fight” width=”245″ height=”208″ />

The other day I took my family to a local park so the kids could get out some energy. Our new apartment isn’t well suited for it really.

We hadn’t been there long when seemingly from no where a group of 35-40 teens gathered in the center. There was an energy in the air. I noticed they were all focused on a couple of young men. It’s been nearly 20 years since I’ve been in High School… but I still remember what it looks like when a fight is about to break out.

This was no ordinary fight though. There were tons of teens around. No one was trying to step in or talk the boys out of it. Even when punches starting being thrown no one stepped in like I remember kids doing. I jumped on my phone and punched in 911 and was routed to the police department.

I screamed out, “Hey Morons! I’m calling the cops!” To which some random watcher near me responded, “So.” I did my best to describe to the officer what was going down and why I was concerned. The fight did end and the crowd started to walk away quickly as word got spread that some guy had called 5-0.

Most of them walked right past me and glared. One girl said, “Why do people always call the cops?” another boy shouted, “I bet you feel all hard dontcha?” I didn’t. I felt stupid but I had to do something. I can’t sit by and watch that go on without a proper response. My daughter and son are to precious to have a bunch of thug kids take over their park and show them that violence goes without consequences.

I was left with a few questions in my mind.

1. Are there really 35-40 families who don’t care where their teens are at 5pm on a Monday?

2. “Why do people always call the cops?” she said. How many fights like this have you been to?

3. What happened to a basic respect for adults… or at very least adults with pre-school children nearby.

4. How many of the kids in that group would call themselves Christians… but did nothing, said nothing… and never even thought twice about it.

God help us.

What I’ve Learned After Three Weeks In A New Position


Three weeks already? Has it really been that long? It’s been crazy busy. Not really the work… but learning how to work in a new environment. Nearly everything is new and what isn’t new is done differently. Procedures I learned from one place have really messed me up on this end of things (I pressed 4 to delete a voicemail… should have pressed 2).

Things are wonderful, don’t get me wrong… but rather than talk about the awesome stuff, I’d like to hash out a few things I’ve already learned about starting a new position (aka, things I messed up).

1. Don’t Get Friendly Too Quickly

Wherever you go, there will be people in each church who are similar. Just because knew one of them very well in your old church doesn’t mean that relationship transfers to the new person. One week is way too soon to be making ‘Yo Mama’ jokes.

2. Don’t Snap Judge Anything

When you move positions, you carry along your experiences. Most of those will come in very handy and help you bypass a whole lot of mess. On the other hand, some of it will cause you to assume certain things that were true in your old place to hold true in the new. This is not necessarily the case. Kid flag teams are not always the cheese.

3. Don’t Talk Non-Stop About Your Old Church

Nobody cares what they did there… how hot or cold it was… how good or bad it was. You may have been there for a decade… but God has moved you forward and upward. It’s time to leave those things behind you and press on to the goal that God has for you. That being said however, at my old church… we did a lot of cool stuff.

4. Watch Those First Impressions

The first time people see you they will make a snapshot of you for their future reference. They will choose how they speak to you and what they say based on that snapshot. Make sure you present your true self even if you’re not at all impressed with it. You cannot maintain an image for any long period of time anyway. If you don’t speak in a southern accent normally, it’s not a good idea to adopt one just because you moved South.

I’m all about getting any advice from any of you readers who have made a move such as mine. Any tips you would add? What mistakes have you made? What did you learn? Drop them in the comments.