Book Review: “Emily Lost Someone She Loved”

 

The death of a loved one.  The death of a pet.  These are some of the most difficult tragedies and losses that parents struggle to explain and help their children through.

The questions abound…

  • How much do I tell my kids?
  • Do I tell them everything is fine when it isn’t?
  • Do I allow them to be a part of family discussions?
  • Do I let them go to the funeral?
  • Should I let them look at the body in the casket?
  • How do I handle their questions about death?

These are all legitimate questions.  They are all not so easy to answer.  Kids Pastors are often in the position of needing to help parents navigate the treacherous waters of grief with their children.  There are not a lot of resources to help the child process their own grief and understand what is happening to them emotionally.

I am so thrilled to recommend this book to you.  Whether you are a parent, a teacher, or a Kids Pastor – this is a resource you will want on your bookshelf.  In “Emily Lost Someone She Loved”, author Kathleen Fucci does a great job of describing the pain and loss in words that children can understand.  The illustrations are beautifully done and the story is short and simple.

You can purchase the book on Amazon – HERE!  Also, I am giving away a FREE copy of the book.  Just email krista@highvoltage-kids.com and let her know you’d like to be entered.  We will draw the winner on Friday, June 16, 2017.  Winner will be notified by email.

Brain Science & The Bible: Are They Enemies?

Brain vs Bible

 

I will never forget sitting in the company of a preacher while I was in Bible College.  This preacher railed against Science and technology.  He viewed them as vehement enemies of the Kingdom of God.  He firmly believed that any sort of connection between Science and The Bible was a lie.

Growing up in a Spirit-led church community, I often heard arguments against “those churches who plan and prepare their services.”  It was believed that those who use their human minds to plan Church services were “not allowing God’s Spirit to lead them.”  The assumption, of course, was that God is not interested in the human brain and any suggestion that God would speak ahead of time to lead a pastor as to what He wanted to do in a particular service was just not probable.

Although I am a FULL believer in the commands of God to have “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16) and to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2), I think to dismiss any value of our human brain which was created by God in all of its complexity – would be a huge mistake.  God created us with a brain for a reason.  It was not to rely on human wisdom alone.  But, it was to be led by the Spirit to use the brain and all of its catecholamines, action potentials, and neuroplasticity for HIS glory!

Throughout history, there have been incredible minds that have intersected the study of God’s creation with the study of the scriptures:

  • St. Thomas Aquinas and his work regarding Aristotle and the formulation of natural law
  • Francis Bacon, the founder of the scientific method
  • Albert Einstein (though not a Christian, stated, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

The fact is, “God gave us a brain not just because our body needed a command and control center to direct it but because God enjoys seeing us steward our brains for his glory.” (Dr. Charles Stone, Brain Savvy Leaders).

Why is understanding the human brain so important?

1.  What goes on in our minds can cause us to stumble.

“But he turned to Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan.  You are a stone that could make me stumble, for you are not thinking God’s thoughts but human thoughts.'”Matthew 16:23

2.  We are to love God with our minds.

“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind.” – Matthew 23:37

3.  Our spiritual battle largely occurs in our minds.

“But I see a different law at work in my body.  It wages a war against the law of my mind and takes me prisoner with the law of sin that is in my body.” – Romans 7:23

4.  Spirituality engages the mind.

“If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind isn’t productive.  What should I do?  I’ll pray in the Spirit, but I’ll pray with my mind too; I’ll sing a psalm in the Spirit, but I’ll sing the psalm with my mind too.” – 1 Corinthians 14:14-15

5.  We’re to purposefully focus our minds’ attention on certain things, and attention is a core component of learning.  In other words, thinking affects behavior.

“Think about the things above and not the things on earth.” – Colossians 3:2

“From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things:  all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise.”  – Philippians 4:8

This is why I have enjoyed reading the book, “Brain Savvy Leaders:  The Science of Significant Ministry.”  Dr. Stone began his interest in the human brain when his daughter, Tiffany, developed a brain tumor.  As he began to see the human brain for what it is – a fantastic creation by our Heavenly Father that is to be used by human beings for His glory – he embarked on a journey of deeper understanding of what it means to be a good steward of this powerful human organ.

Here is what several leading voices are saying about this book:

“Brain Savvy Leaders is the best book I have read on the brain science of healthy thinking and effective leadership.  Dr. Stone has done an incredible job of balancing modern brain science with biblical truth, making complex ideas simple to understand, and providing practical tools to enhance mental performance.” – Dr. Timothy R. Jennings, President, Tennessee Psychiatric Association

“This book will help you with emotional regulation, personal productivity, team collaboration, and change management.  It’s a winner!” – Dan Reiland, Author of Amplified Leadership

“Brain Savvy Leaders shares helpful tips on how to master leadership in the church.  I needed this book.” – Ron Edmondson, Senior Pastor, Immanuel Baptist Church, Lexington, KY

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it for those who want to gain a better understanding between the Science of the human brain and its Divine purpose!

Purchase your copy of Brain Savvy Leaders by Dr. Charles Stone HERE!

Brain Savvy Leaders

 

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT About My New Book

I have been working the last two years on my new book, Talk Now And Later: How To Lead Kids Through Life’s Tough Topics.”  I firmly believe this book is going to be a GAME CHANGER for all Christian Parents!

Children today are being bombarded by messages that are contrary to what the Bible teaches. Parents (and grandparents who are now parenting their grandkids) feel completely overwhelmed as they try to navigate the difficult waters of conversation with their kids about very difficult topics.  That’s why I wrote this book!  To help parents and grandparents lead kids through topics like SEX, self-Image, death, bullying, divorce, and more.  You don’t have to GUESS how to communicate with your kids about these subjects.  I have taken my 23 years of Children’s Pastoring experience (and my experience as a father of two children) and put it in this book to help you.

Here is the basic message of the book:

  1. Parents need to understand that it is far better to be PROactive in having conversations about these tough topics than to simply be REactive when a crisis hits their family.
  2. The way to pave the way for those BIG conversations in the future is to have many many small conversations as your child grows (about these tough topics), giving them a little at a time and building the foundation for meaningful conversation later.
  3. Parents must have their radar on all the time, looking for open doors and cues that their children will give them that “now is the time to enter through the door and have a small, meaningful conversation.”  Seize that moment!
  4. Parents should realize that EVERY conversation can be a Spiritual conversation.  God can use every conversation to shape their child’s future.

I am so honored that Dr. Michelle Anthony wrote the Foreword for my book.  She is the best-selling author of “Spiritual Parenting” and “Becoming A Spiritually Healthy Family.”  I am very excited about this book becoming a resource for every Christian parent.

The book officially releases to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Christian Retailers on September 1st. However, YOU get a chance to get it RIGHT NOW!  For a limited time, you can get an autographed copy of the book for only $15!  PLUS, you’ll receive it within the next couple of weeks…WAY before the rest of the world!

Want to download a FREE chapter of the book?  Click here!

You can order your copy HERE and have it before anyone else!

So, get your copy of “Talk Now And Later” today and start learning how to lead the kids in your life in meaningful spiritual conversations about life’s toughest topics.  You’ll be glad you did.  I can’t wait to hear the stories of what God is going to do as you “Talk Now AND Later!”

Here’s a quick video to tell you more:

 

Book Review: “How To Enjoy Reading Your Bible”

Keith Ferrin

I didn’t always enjoy reading the Bible.  I know – it’s really BAD for a pastor to admit this.  Just to clarify, it’s not that I disliked the Bible.  It’s just that I saw it as more of something I NEEDED to do rather than something I WANTED to do.

We’ve all been there.  Our Western mindset causes us to make reading the Bible something to be achieved and knocked off the list.  We make a grand goal of “reading the Bible through in a year,” but barely get through the book of Numbers before we abandon that and skip to Proverbs.  We look at the best-selling book of all time and treat it like an owner’s manual rather than a treasure map (which it  most definitely is).

My good friend, Keith Ferrin, is one of the most passionate people I have ever met about the Bible!  He just released a brand new book this week titled “How To Enjoy Reading The Bible.”  It’s an incredible read and VERY practical.  Keith’s goal is simple:  “To help you ENJOY the Bible.  If you enjoy it, you will read it more.  If you enjoy it, you will talk about it.  If you enjoy it, you will be more consistent in your time with God.  If you enjoy it, you will apply it!”

You will LOVE this book.  It will cause you to fall in love with an even BETTER book – The Bible!

Here’s the cool thing – Keith is so convinced you will love this book he is giving away a TON of FREE stuff if you purchase it this week!  All you have to do is visit Keith’s blog HERE to find out how you can get 8 FREE gifts just for purchasing the book this week.  I highly recommend this book!  It will revolutionize your Bible reading!

How-to-Enjoy-Reading-Your-Bible-3D-bigger-cropped

 

A Helpful Resource To Help Teach Young Children About Creation

God-Created

 

Throughout their academic life, children will have to face the onslaught of scientific theories, teachers, professors, and peers who will pressure them into leaving behind the “primitive and uneducated” belief that Earth was created by Almighty God.  A recent Gallup poll reveals that over 60% of Americans believe in the theory of evolution – many of them believing that it is the PRIMARY explanation for where life on Earth comes from.  

Earlier this year, Ken Ham, a well-known Christian apologist debated the outspoken evolutionist, Bill Nye (the Science Guy).  It was a classic  (and public) Creation-versus-Evolution debate.  Nye is more than just a former TV personality.  He was also featured in a YouTube video last year titled “Bill Nye: Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children.”  Click this link to watch the video.

Nye says, “in another couple centuries,” the creationist worldview “just won’t exist,” saying “there’s no evidence for it.”

The battle for the hearts and minds of the next generation begins long before kids enter a high school or college biology class.

Remember the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes?  It was a small child who saw and pointed out that the king had no clothes on at all.   Kids are not dumb.  Even if parents choose not to discuss it, children will soon recognize that the theory of evolution does contradict the Bible.  So, what can Christian parents do to counteract the push and pull of society to walk away from the Bible and embrace something else as the ultimate authority on the origin of life?

I don’t think it is a simple answer.  It all starts with teaching your children clearly what the Bible says about Creation.  Every once in a while, a tool comes along that helps to aid in that pursuit.  I came across such a tool recently, and wanted to share it with you.

God Created is a short picture book that is aimed at ages 3-8 years old.  It is well done with incredibly vivid illustrations.  It is written by Sarah Evelyn Hodson and illustrated by Jason Platt.  Sarah works as an early intervention speech-language pathologist in addition to writing children’s books.  She is a mom of two children.

You can purchase a copy of this book by clicking here!   Also, Sarah was kind enough to send me a copy to GIVE AWAY for free!  If you would like to be entered into the drawing, please email me at brian@highvoltage-kids.com.  I will announce the winner next week!

Have you seen the “POWER BIBLE?”

I was recently introduced to the “POWER BIBLE.”  It is a resource that was produced by Green Egg Media.  It is an amazing new children’s Bible that uses an Asian comics style artwork.  I must say, I am impressed.

There are several highlights to this resource that I want to point out:

1.  The artwork is stellar.

2.  It’s well-executed and set in a format that kids will “eat up.”

3.  It gives kids a tool to use to share the truth of God’s Word with their friends.

4.  It can be used as a great devotional tool for kids.

5.  It is very comprehensive.  There are 10 issues in the series, covering the Old and New Testament.

Here is a sample of the artwork:

Also, I found a really cool video that tells you even more about this resource!

I have been given a FREE copy of the Power Bible to give away to one of my blog readers.  If you would like to enter to win, just email brian@highvoltage-kids.com today!  I will announce the winner in a post next week!

If you would like to purchase your own copy of the Power Bible, click this link

Get A FREE Copy Of My New E-Book, “Kidminnovation”

Facebook-Ad

I have been waiting on this day for a long time!  Today, I release my brand new e-book, “Kidminnovation.”  (#Kidmin + Innovation = Kidminnovation)  The message of this book has been building in me for many years.  I had the opportunity to speak at INCM’s “CM Leaders” event two years ago on this subject.  Ever since, I have had many Kidmin Leaders asking me to write more about it and help them unlock the creativity inside of them.

The premise of the book is that EVERYONE has creative potential.

 In Kidmin today, I see so many people falling short of their creative potential.  Innovation is happening in some churches, ministries, and pockets of the Kidmin universe.  But, as a whole, we have been reluctant to embrace the idea of every Kidmin leader as an innovator.

A large part of the problem is that there is an air of mystery and mysticism around the creative process. Because people assume and reinforce the idea that some have creative potential and others don’t, those who do harness their potential and work through the creative process become all the more “different.”  I believe the time is coming when every Kidmin Leader will believe in themselves – AND the God who created them – enough to be able to tap into the innovator that lives in each of them. When that happens, we will change the world!

In this book, I share the “10 Characteristics of a Kidminnovator.”  I also talk about the “Three Creativity Killers” that we should ALL avoid.  In the second half of the e-book, I give “Five Keys To Instantly Improve Your Creative Output.”  Then, I close the book by sharing “The Key To Limitless Creativity.”  If any of these subjects appeal to you, then you should read “Kidminnovation.”

The best part is, for a limited time I am offering this e-Book for FREE!  All you have to do is subscribe to this blog – CLICK HERE to sign up for my weekly e-mail updates!  Not only will you get this book, but you will stay up-to-date with all of the resources I share on this blog AND a couple of bonus surprises!

So, sign up and spread the word!  If you are already an email subscriber to this blog, then you will receive a copy of the e-book in your inbox shortly.  If you don’t, just contact me via the contact page on this blog.  I will make sure it gets to you!

ALSO, you can help me by SPREADING THE WORD!  Would you Tweet and Post on Facebook the following:

Hey  friends!   is giving away FREE copies of his new e-book “Kidminnovation” on his blog 

My team and I will be watching the internet this week!  We will be randomly giving away some incredible prizes to some lucky people who post about it on Social Media (like FREE resources, coupon codes, etc.)  To help us make sure we know about your posts, come back to this blog post and leave a comment telling us that you posted about it!  This is going to be a fun week!

Starting A Kids Ministry From Scratch (An Essential Resource)

childrens-ministry-from-scratch

If you have ever had the daunting task of having to start a Kids Ministry from scratch (as in NOTHING, ZILCH, NADA), then you know it can be exhausting.  It’s all you can do to keep from pulling your hair out and losing your marbles.  That is, until now!

My friend and fellow Kids Pastor, Trisha Peach, has developed a LIFE-CHANGING resource:  “Your Children’s Ministry From Scratch.”  It is the definitive how-to book for anyone who ministers to children, whether volunteer or paid staff.  It’s funny, poignant and interactive!

Trisha’s book, “Your Children’s Ministry From Scratch” is due out this summer 2014.  This project has been several years in the making, and comes out of Trisha’s 16 years as a full-time staff children’s pastor.  Part of her job as children’s pastor for Christian Life Center in Dayton Ohio (church of about 3000, with 600 kids) was to go into their 11 partnership churches in the city and help them set up their children’s ministry. Each of these churches varied widely as far as ethnicities, racial backgrounds, budgets, and facilities.  Trisha even helped with the children’s ministries at their partnership churches in Swaziland Africa (a trip that changed her life).  She began to understand that the vast majority of children’s ministry leaders and volunteers in churches large and small, do NOT receive the training and resources they need to be effective.  These are wonderful people in that God has raised up, people with a willing heart and a desire to reach kids for Jesus.  In fact, the recent statistics say that most children’s directors in the U.S. have no background or training in children’s ministry when they begin serving. 

For a long while now, Trisha has felt a God given-desire to write an easy to read, step by step guide to building a quality children’s ministry in ANY church, ANYWHERE. “Your Children’s Ministry From Scratch” is written for established children’s pastors, children’s ministry students and for anyone who has just stepped up to lead a children’s ministry.  Instead of recommending 10 books on 10 different subjects, this book takes a fresh look at all the basics and much more all in one compact volume!  Some of the topics covered are: writing your first budget, choosing the right curriculum for YOUR church, recruitment that works, safety and your ministry, communicating well with parents, kids and staff and much more. This funny, poignant and at times very blunt how-to manual is interactive and jam packed with information and resources for surviving and thriving in children’s ministry.

IMPORTANT INFO:

Trish is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to help with the kickoff and promotion of the book.  What does this mean for you?  It means you get an unbelievable opportunity to get incredible deals on the first printing of the book, plus insider info, autographed copies, and more!  Check out this video that Trisha put together to tell you all about it!

The Kickstarter campaign ends in just a few days on June 17th!  Don’t miss out on your opportunity!  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pastortrisha/your-childrens-ministry-from-scratch

Recommended Resource: “Leading A Special Needs Ministry” by Amy Fenton Lee

According to a 2013 report released by the CDC, an estimated 1 in 50 children receive a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. Churches are finding themselves in a place where the need is great, but the answers and resources are few.  Kids Ministry Leaders are encountering an ever-increasing pressure to help parents navigate through these tough waters, but establishing an effective ministry to children with special needs can be a daunting task.

Amy Fenton Lee’s new book serves as a practical “how-to” handbook for the Kidmin Leader who desires to create an atmosphere of inclusion for children with special needs. This incredible book provides guidance for talking to parents who are learning their child has a diagnosis.  It also gives all the tools you will need to develop programs, write policies and educate volunteers working with children with disabilities.  Sample ministry documents are provided throughout this resource guide as well.

Includes:
*  Loving The Family Through the Diagnosis
*  Special Needs Statistics
*  Terms, Laws and Trends
*  Establishing a Mission for the Special Needs Ministry
*  Developing an Accommodation Plan for the Child with Special Needs
*  The Special Needs Ministry Leader
*  Volunteers: Leading, Recruiting, Training and Creating Community
*  Behavior and Participant Safety; and FAQs

I have personally known Amy for a while now.  I have been honored to speak at several events with her.  She is a powerhouse!  What will impress you more than her vast range of knowledge is her deep heart for families of children with special needs.  She blogs at www.TheInclusiveChurch.com – I highly recommend you becoming a regular reader!

Amy and the great folks at Orange are offering my readers a SPECIAL DEAL on this amazing resource.  You can get $2 off the purchase of one (1) copy of of the book “Leading a Special Needs Ministry”  (brings price down to $16.99)

Just use this Coupon Code at checkout (case sensitive):  LSNM2
Coupon good through: 12/31/13
Coupon only good for purchases through the Orange Store.
Make sure you are logged into your Orange Store account for coupon code to work.  (Anyone can create an account.)

WANT TO WIN A FREE COPY OF THE BOOK?
Amy has offered to give away a free copy of the book to one of my readers!  All you have to do is leave a comment in the comments section of this post if you want to win!  We will pick a winner and send you a copy of the book!

More about Amy Fenton Lee:

Amy is the special needs consultant to The reThink Group, Inc.  Amy has written extensively on the subject of special needs inclusion in children’s ministry environments and has been published in dozens of in-print publications, journals, and on the web, including her own blog, www.TheInclusiveChurch.com.

Book Review: “Connecting Church & Home” by Dr. Tim Kimmel

“Strong churches don’t make strong families.  Strong families make strong churches.” – Dr. Tim Kimmel

What is the center of your Family Ministry strategy?  Is it safety and protection from the dark influences of this world?  Is it reaching unchurched families through evangelism?  What drives your ministry to kids and families?

Dr. Tim Kimmel offers a one word answer in his new book, “Connecting Church & Home.” That one word:  GRACE.  Dr. Kimmel suggests that God’s grace can and should be what encompasses everything we do as a church – especially ministering to families.

Kimmel begins with the book with a challenging history of what has happened in the American church in the last 75 years.  As society has deteriorated, parents have felt more and more isolated and incapable of leading their own children on a spiritual journey.  Add to that – the church answered by raising up professional Children’s and Youth Ministers to “help” them raise their kids.  What happened more often was that the parents abdigated their responsibility to the “professionals.”

This book is challenging, but is a very encouraging read.  Kimmel offers a blue print of a “grace based parenting system.”  This is clearly defined as “treating others the way that God treats us” in every single relationship in the home.  Kimmel writes, “By making God’s grace the philosophical starting point of everything we do, we guarantee that whatever is done will be done within an authentic connection to our kids’ heart” (P. 58).

Kimmel’s strategy of “Grace Based Parenting” is broken into four dimensions:  Greatness (aiming kids at the biblical standard of greatness), Character (guiding kids through the building of godly character that will last a lifetime), Freedom (every child wants freedom; allowing the child freedom to fail, etc.), and Inner Needs (providing for the basic needs for love, security, hope, etc.).

Grace based parenting is a parenting strategy that seeks to produce heart change in the life of our kids.  This type of parenting results in kids who inwardly love Jesus and inwardly want to serve Him wholeheartedly.  Kimmel understands that if you change the heart – the outward actions will change to imitate Jesus as well.

“Connecting Church & Home” can be purchased here.

Check out this video from Dr. Tim Kimmel discussing his book: