GIVEAWAY: As for Me and My [Crazy] House

What is it…

It’s a book by my friend Brian Berry. Brian has been in youth ministry for 20 years. Literally, his kids know no other life than being the youth pastor’s kids. Speaking of kids– Brian has 5 of them! My kids LOVE going over to their house and seeing them at church. Somehow they managed to have 3 kids between Megan and Paul’s age. (OK, so 2 of them are adopted!) Somehow– not accidentally– Shannon and Brian have figured out how to keep their sanity while serving in ministry. I’m not saying the Berry family is perfect or problem free. But they have figured some things out and are worth learning from.

Who is Brian…

Brian is my compatriot, high school guys co-small group leader, and generations pastor at my church. He’s got a great big job, a great big family, and the biggest pick-up truck you’ve ever seen. Seriously, I drove it and it was as big as a short bus. More important than all that stuff– Brian and Shannon have great big hearts. They’re the kind of people you meet and want to hang out with more. If you’ve been to NYWC, SYMC, YS Palooza… or read a youth ministry magazine in the past 3-4 years than you’ve probably met Brian. (Read between the lines: I think Brian is legit. Does it show?)

Why I like it…

It’s a shame that this book has mostly been marketed to youth ministry people. Sure, Brian is a youth ministry dude. BUT this book is important for any Christian family trying to figure out how to balance life. Brian is an excellent communicator. I call his style “staccato.” When he’s got something to say it comes quick, in bite size, highly comprehendible bursts.

There’s a ton of books in the “Christian family” category at any Christian bookstore. There is a lot of crap on the market in this category, we all know it. Everything Brian does is “anti-crap.” This book is no exception.

You get the idea, I like this book because I like Brian.

How to get it…

BUY IT… Head over to Simply Youth Ministry and buy a copy. You can either download it in your favorite eReader format or pay $2 more to get a printed version.

WIN IT… Leave a comment on this post by midnight tonight and you’ll be entered to win a free copy. Check back on this post tomorrow, I’ll edit the post to announce the winner.

WINNER... James Hauptman – hey James, email me your address and we’ll ship it out!

hmm... thoughts

Children’s Book Idea: The Martyrs of Jesus

I’m an idea guy. And one thing I’ve learned over the years is that every one of my ideas has value. That doesn’t mean every idea is a good idea. It just means that every idea is worth writing down and coming back to later.

Several months ago I had this thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to have an illustrated children’s book for 3-5 year olds that taught the real-life stories of Christian heroes?” Before I got too far with it I realized– This is one of the worst ideas EVER.!

Here’s what some of the pages would have been: 

  • Polycarp – He was an old man who was burned at the stake because he refused to burn incense to honor the Roman Emperor. When he didn’t catch on fire, they stabbed him with a spear.
  • Cyprian – When he refused to sacrifice to pagan gods, he was first banished. But then he was brought back to Carthage and beheaded. On his way to be killed he took off all of his clothes and put on his own blindfold.
  • Agnes – Agnes was martyred because she refused to marry someone who wasn’t a Christian. But since the law in Rome was that a virgin couldn’t be executed, Roman soldiers dragged her to a brothel first. Then when they tried to burn her at the stake the wood wouldn’t catch fire, so a soldier stabbed her in the throat.
  • Jovan Vladimir – He was beheaded in front of his church because he refused to lead his country into war.
  • William Tyndale – After being jailed for over a year in a castle, Tyndale was choked, impaled, and burned at the stake. His crime? He translated the Bible into English.
  • Hugh Latimer – Why he was killed isn’t all that clear. But people in charge of the church just didn’t like him because he was teaching truth about salvation and had a habit of preaching at places that weren’t the church. So they had him burned at the stake.
  • Thomas Baker – A missionary to Figi who was killed and eaten by cannibals.

I dunno, this might be my best idea ever…


We need non-digital adventure

Photo by Christine K via Flickr (Creative Commons)

A couple weekends ago I told Megan and Paul to get in the car, we were going on a secret adventure.

Anticipation in the car was high. Were we going for ice cream? Was dad taking us to a movie? Were we going to buy new video games?

All were possibilities. But none were realities.

Dad’s plan– Spend an hour at Barnes & Noble picking out books.

I thought you were taking us on an adventure, dad. This sucks.” Those were the words of my 8 year old son as we entered the store.

I explained, “You need to take your brain on a non-digital adventure. And books can take you there.” Every time they picked up a book it was tied to a video game or cartoon. “Non-digital adventure. Longer, older, think about the classics.” They complained, “I don’t want to read an old book. I want to read something new. New stuff is good, old stuff is boring.” 

In the end we made a compromise. They could each pick out whatever book they wanted. And dad picked out two books for them. (The first two books in the Narnia series.)

Megan took the compromise. Paul didn’t pick out a book and went home empty handed on principle.

I went home and planned our camping trip– A non-digital adventure of the mind, body, and soul.

Besides restricting use, what are ways you help your kids take their brain on non-digital adventures?