Don’t Miss The Cues (VIDEO)

dont miss the cues

 

Our kids WANT to talk.  Sometimes, the reason they don’t is because REAL conversation with Mom or Dad isn’t something that they do often.  But, it’s not always THEIR choice.   Too many parents don’t recognize the cues that their children give that are a clear declaration of, “I really want to talk.”

Many times our kids want to talk about things that haven’t crossed our minds. Instead of always being focused on the task in front of us or what’s on the radio while we’re driving, parents need to look for the open doors of conversation that their kids are presenting them dozens of times per day.  Parents need to be able to read their kids’ body language and tone of voice.

In this video, I share a personal story about my son and some insights on how you can always be ready when your child gives you the cue that “it’s time to talk.”  Believe me, you don’t want to miss those cues!

 

In case you missed Video #1 in this series, you can find it HERE!  It’s all about becoming a PROactive parent rather than a REactive parent!

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:

 

“Selfies” Are Sinful! Here’s Why…

OK, perhaps I am overstating it JUST a bit!  🙂  But, the “selfie” culture on Social Media is very telling.

Much of the time (not ALL, so no hate mail OK?), these selfies are simply a means of saying, “Look at me!  I want attention!”  Everywhere you look on Social Media people are taking pictures of themselves doing the most mundane things in the most elaborate poses – as if the rest of us really want to see this.  “Check out my new shoes!”  “My hair is ON POINT today!”  “Look at these abs, baby!”  It’s all about me, me, me!  It’s all about self, self, self!

Our society suffers from a “ME-First” mentality.  It’s the reason – when you are coming up on a stoplight – that you change lanes just to get further ahead of the car in front of you. You are GOING to get ahead of them.  Or when a car begins to pass you on the road, you speed up.  You will NOT allow them to get in that coveted position!  Talk about a ME-First world!

It’s the reason you get angry when someone else in the restaurant gets their food before you when you CLEARLY sat down before they did.

And, the ULTIMATE example of a ME-First mentality?  Black Friday!  This is where you can see the disgraceful sight of people pushing, elbowing, and biting so they can be the one to save $10 on bed sheets for Christmas.

It’s the reason you check how many friends you have on Facebook or followers on Twitter and Instagram in comparison to someone else.  If you have more, you are higher up on the social ladder.  You are sitting in the seat of honor.  Some of you even have the app “Followers Plus” that tells you how you rate against others.  It gives you the ability to see your “fame value” and your “acclaim value” to see if you really are as popular as you feel.

So, what does Jesus say about elevating yourself above others?  What does Jesus say you should do INSTEAD of trying to live with a “ME-First” mentality?  Jesus says…

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Luke 14:11

Jesus seems to be saying, “Don’t wait for other people, circumstances, or even God to humble you. CHOOSE to humble yourself.”

You must CHOOSE to put others first.  You must CHOOSE to put yourself in the lowest position – not because you were forced to be last. Not because you’re having a pity party because everyone else got the breaks.  But, because you CHOSE to humble yourself.

So, how do you choose to humble yourself?  How do you actively humble yourself on a daily basis so you never have to go through the pain of BEING humbled?

I shared a message with our congregation on this very topic.  In it, I share some insights from The Bible that will help you in this process of choosing to HUMBLE YOURSELF!  I hope it is a blessing to you:

The Two Most Powerful Words A Parent Can Say

father says i am sorry

Parents mess up.  ALL parents mess up.  Even deeply committed Christian parents mess up.  But, not all parents are willing to admit it.  Two of the most wonderful words children of all ages can hear from parents are, “I’m sorry.”  These are also two of the most difficult words for parents to say.

Too often, we wrongly believe that in order to have the “upper hand” as a parent, we must be seen as infallible.  We must never admit our mistakes for fear it will show weakness to our children, and they will try to exploit it.  Parents who believe and practice this – do so at their own peril.  The truth is, the parents who are willing to say, “I’m sorry” actually RISE in their child’s esteem.  Those who refuse to say these two powerful words place a huge divide between themselves and their children.

Your kids aren’t stupid.  They know when you are wrong.  They know when you have made a mistake.  When you refuse to admit your mistakes, your children begin to see you as someone who cares more about BEING right than DOING right.  It’s hard to recover from that.

Saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t only apply to the small things like being late to pick your child up from practice or forgetting to bring home ice cream like you promised.  “I’m sorry” are two words that need to be used for the BIG blunders as well.  Apologies are necessary for individual offenses, but parents also need to address prolonged, harmful patterns of communication—demanding too much, blaming, withdrawing, smothering, and so on.

Let’s face it, not every parent today grew up in a healthy home.  Often, you are doing your best to parent your own kids in spite of the negative, dysfunctional home you grew up in.  You want to be a good parent, but you are often guessing at HOW to do it well.  You didn’t have the best example placed before you growing up, so you struggle with communicating with your child in a healthy way.

In many cases, parents can and should explain how their own painful backgrounds have colored their perceptions and shaped their responses.  These stories help the rest of the family understand how they got this way, but they aren’t excuses for bad behavior.  The offending parent needs to own the offenses, apologize, repent, and begin to rebuild trust.  A full apology communicates, “I get it now.  I realize how I’ve hurt you, and I’m deeply sorry.  I want to open the lines of communication with you.  I’ll do my very best to do better, and I need your help.  Will you tell me when I mess up again?  I have a long way to go, but I’m stepping onto the road today.”

This isn’t just a theory.  I’ve had these conversations with my kids.  I have asked Ashton and Jordan to speak up anytime I become condescending or demanding, and I’ve promised that I’ll respect them when they have the courage to call me on my personal shortcomings.  That means I don’t get angry when they’re honest with me.  I don’t walk off in a huff, and I don’t look for some reason to blame them and turn the conversation around.  I take it like a man and thank them for their courage and love.

For instance, I get upset when mechanical things don’t work.  I won’t go into the deep, psychological reasons for my sense of electronic entitlement, but you can be sure that if a computer program or a television remote or a lamp doesn’t work the way I want it to work, my reaction isn’t pretty!  When my face gets red, I begin to growl, and it looks like I’m going to yank the cord out of the wall, Ashton and Jordan can say, “Calm down, Dad.  Have some patience.”  That’s enough to remind me of my commitment to them to maintain my cool.

When they speak up, I don’t bark, “You can’t tell me to be patient!  Can’t you see that this darn thing isn’t working?”  Instead, I thank them for their loving reminder.  My relationship with them is far more important than my desire to have electronic components run smoothly.  And because I have asked for their input, they are validated as valued, respected people.

How about you?  Do your kids have permission to respectfully call you on it when you make a mistake?  Do you need to “man up” or “woman up” and bring yourself to say those two powerful words?  Do it now!  Get up from the computer, call your kids to the living room, turn off the TV, and say it.  “I’m sorry.”  They are two of the most powerful words you can say to your kids.  Speak those words – and watch the healing begin.

***Adapted from a chapter in my upcoming book, “Talk Now And Later:  How To Lead Kids Through Life’s Tough Topics” (coming September 1st)***

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T.H.I.N.K. Before You Post/Tweet

THINK Before Post

Rarely does a day go by when I don’t open Social Media and see tweets and posts from Christians that I read and wonder, “Did they even take a nanosecond to think what those who see or read this will think?”  Posts like:

“I’ve never met such a hateful & cold-hearted person in my life.”

“You know how to put me in the worst mood possible.”

“I’ve put up with this [stuff] for too long. I’m tired of it.”

“The more you talk, the more convinced I become that pushing you down a set of stairs would solve a lot of problems.”

“I swear I want to choke slam some [people] sometimes.”

Now, before you start in on “What’s wrong with teenagers these days…” EVERY one of those posts were taken from Christian ADULTS Facebook and Twitter feeds – not kids.  In fact, I even shudder sometimes when I read Facebook posts by PASTORS and Leaders.

I don’t know why it is this way – but, when something happens in life that irritates you or bothers you – you immediately take to Social Media and vent your frustration.  Years ago people would use a diary for that.  With a diary, you were able to write down your feelings, frustrations, and thoughts – but then you locked it and put it away where no one else would read.  Now, many people take ZERO time to think before they post.   Something happens, and they immediately pull out their phone and fire off their angry rant about their coworker, family member, or the government!

The sad thing is, I don’t think some Christians understand that when you post on social media – people form their perception of you (and often, their perception of Jesus Christ) from that post.  You may have two or three of your close friends in mind when you post that rude statement, but there are hundreds of people who see it.  Not only your friends, but friends of your friends who don’t know much about you – other than what you post.  Some people need to cancel their Social Media accounts and just go buy a diary.  

Here’s the sad truth – one of the biggest reasons the unchurched stay away from church is Christians who don’t talk (or post) like Christians – Christians whose faith hasn’t made it to their mouth – or their keyboard.  A follower of Jesus Christ should sound different from the person who has no relationship with Jesus.  If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you should sound different:

  • When you are angry
  • When you are disappointed
  • When you are treated unfairly
  • When someone makes a mistake
  • When someone sins or fails
  • When you are talking about others
  • When you respond to someone who is hurting

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, others should hear it in your words in any situation.  If your relationship with Jesus Christ is genuine, it should affect your speech – and your posts.  You should put much more thought into every word you speak and every word you type.  Your words have power.  When you open your mouth before you engage your brain, it leads to disaster.  It can ruin your life – and the person who is the object of your words.

The Bible has a term for “Speaking Without Thinking.”  It’s called “Careless Words.”  Jesus addressed the subject of “careless words” in Matthew 12:36-37

Matt.12:36But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.  37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Your words are not “just words.”  One day, you will stand before the Heavenly Father and give account for every word – even your careless words.  On that day, what will your words reveal?  Jesus said your words will either acquit you or condemn you.  Which will it be? 

James picked up where Jesus left off…

Jam.1:26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

Your unfiltered, careless words invalidate your faith.  Those who listen to your unfiltered words and read what you post look at you and think, “Is that what it is to be a Christian? I don’t think so.”  If we really understood this, how differently would we approach the words we type into that space and hit “post.”

I want to share with you some questions to ask yourself before you speak.  It will serve as your filter for your words and help you to stop speaking before you THINK.  If you stop, think, and run everything you are about to say, tweet, or post through this grid BEFORE you do it – it could save you and others a lot of harm.  I must be honest with you.  These questions are hanging in just about every Elementary School in America.  There are posters to help your kids learn this concept.  The schools may not realize it, but every single aspect of this grid is rooted in scripture.  So, let’s use the word “T.H.I.N.K.” to help you install a filter on your words.

Here are several questions to ask before you post something on Social Media:

Is what I am about to post…

True?

  • If it isn’t true – don’t say it.
  • If it’s only partially true, but it’s embellished so as to make you look good or important – don’t say it.
  • If it is a technical truth, but the major portion of facts are left out so as not to incriminate you – don’t say it.

Helpful?

  • Is what you are planning to say helpful to the listener?  It may be true, but is it helpful?
  • Some people make excuses for their gossip simply because it is true. Just because something is true doesn’t mean it is helpful.

Inspiring?

  • Your words can either build up or tear down.
  • There are a lot of unfiltered words being spoken that are focused on tearing others down.  Followers of Jesus should thoughtfully speak words that inspire others and build them up according to their needs.
  • Imagine the perspectives you could change – the lives you could change – if you put more thought into the words you speak and tried to inspire those who would hear it.

Necessary?

  • This might just be the first question you need to ask.  Is it necessary?  If not, it most likely would be best left unsaid.Prov. 10:19 When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
  • Ask, “Lord, do I need to keep quiet and not say anything?”  If you aren’t sure whether what you are about to say is necessary, don’t say anything.  Just be quiet.  Hold your tongue.  That makes you wise!

Kind?

  • Is what I am about to say harsh? Or, is it gentle and kind?
  • Harsh, unfiltered words are always better left unsaid.

Listen, this is hard stuff.  I understand.  It’s been a life-long struggle for me.  On my own, I can’t do it.  On your own, you can’t do it.

Jam.3:7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

“No man can tame the tongue”.  Do you know what that means?  It means, “No man can tame the tongue.”  This is not easy.  You can’t do this by yourself.  This is not an “I’m going to make a New Year’s resolution and never speak negatively again” kind of thing.  This is not a “Pick up a tip from Dr. Phil or Oprah kind of thing.”

The Truth is: You need God’s help to filter your words – to help you THINK before you speak/post.

 My prayer is – that my words – and your words will reveal a follower of Jesus Christ – one that others would hear and say, “I want to be a part of that.”  This week, don’t let any unfiltered words come out of your mouth – or on your Facebook wall.  In fact, T.H.I.N.K. hard this week.  Use every conversation, every post, to “build others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

How To Kill An Invisible Gorilla

gorilla

OK, now before the folks at PETA start picketing my blog – let me explain.

Ever heard the expression “monkey on my back”?  It refers to a problem or irritation that just won’t seem to go away.  A looming deadline, a staffing issue, a recurring problem.  These “monkeys” can be irritating.

However, I am not talking about those little “monkeys” in this blog.  Have you ever woke up with such heaviness, such a weight bearing down on you it’s like a 900 lb gorilla sitting on your chest?  You know that you have something huge to face today – a huge interview, a confrontational conversation, a major report or writing project.  It is such a BIG DEAL that you almost have to give yourself a pep talk just to get out of bed and face the day.

Those “invisible gorillas” can steal your joy, distract your thinking, and zap your motivation.  The obvious answer to kill this gorilla is prayer.  When I hit my knees and “cast my cares upon Him” (Psalm 55:22), I feel that load lift.  God will take the weight of that “invisible gorilla” and replace it with His comfort and peace.  After all, Jesus promised us “my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).

Another secret weapon I have for killing those “invisible gorillas” is music.  There’s something liberating and joyous about music that gets me fired up.  I have one song in particular that has been a “gorilla killer” for many years.  It is Donnie McClurkin’s “Just A Little Talk With Jesus” (click on the link to find it i-Tunes).  Although I am definitely a ROCKER at heart, this black gospel song just gets me revved up – and the invisible gorilla just disappears as I remember that God is in control!!!

What about you?  What do you do to kill the invisible 900 lb gorilla sitting on your chest?  What song do you play that just instantly changes the mood and gets you motivated to slay the gorilla?  Share your comments below.

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

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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!

Computer Brains

I have to admit – as a Christian kid growing up in the 80s I was a big Petra fan.  The other day, the song “Computer Brains” from Petra’s “Beat The System” album came on my iPod.  I started thinking about the truth of that song.  It was powerful.

Here’s the truth:  our minds are like a computer.  Remember the old computer acronym, “GIGO” (Garbage In, Garbage Out)?  You have to be very careful when you program a computer.  Even the smallest error will produce flawed results.  In other words, the results produced by the computer will be no better than the quality of the programming.

People are the same way.  What goes in is what comes out.  Psychologists say that we tend to become what we think about most.  Proverbs 23:7 says it this way, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

My question for you is:  What kind of input are you receiving?  The quality of your input determines the quality of your output.

If you want a positive attitude to come out, put positive information in.  Hang around positive people, not complainers.  If you want thoughtful, courteous, helpful words to come out, you better make sure the input you are receiving matches that desired output.

What kind of books/blogs do you read?  What kind of music do you listen to?   What kind of people do you go to lunch with?  What kind of conversations do you have on break?  Do all of these INPUTS help you grow and become a better person/leader?  If not, it’s time for a change!

Remember, your brain is like a computer – only much more complex.  Control your input, and your output will take care of itself.

I Started The Process Of Dying Today

I realize I might have startled some of you with the title of this post.  No, I do not have a sickness – nor am I physically dying in any way.  I apologize if I gave some of you a panic.

Today, Good Friday, the day we remember the death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross over 2,000 years ago – I began a journey with many people in my church.  It is a thirty day challenge called “LIVE DEAD.”

“LIVE DEAD” is a challenge to live life wholly for Jesus.  To die to self, knowing God will do a greater work through you.  It is a devotional book that has writings from many missionaries to East Africa.  It challenges us to give a “tithe” of our time each day (for 30 days) to God in prayer, study of the Word, worship, and interceding for the 40% of our world’s population that have NEVER heard the name of Jesus.  I know that figure sounds astounding, but you can learn more about it on the LIVE DEAD website.

Why do I share this with you?  First, for accountability.  By publicly declaring my intentions, I believe it will keep me that much more focused on the goal.  Second, to bring awareness to each Christian about the need for all of us to LIVE DEAD.  Christ died so that we could live, yes.  He also commanded each of us to die to self.

On this Good Friday, I pray that you will be reminded that it’s not about what we can GET from Jesus, it is about what we can GIVE to Him.  To honor Him.  To honor His reason for leaving Heaven and coming to Earth.  That reason:  “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17)

Winners of the “I Blew It!” giveaway!

Thanks to all of you who participated in our big giveaway that ended March 31st.  Many of you helped get the word out and many new subscribers were added to the BLOG.  Welcome to everyone!  Here are your winners:

Joe Hegedus of New Jersey

Nancy Freiling of Virginia

Pamela Bartley of Kentucky

Neil Hancock of Georgia

Lisa Grace

Each of them are receiving a FREE copy of my book, “I Blew It!”   If you would like more info about the book, click HERE!  Keep your eyes open for more winning opportunities.

In the meantime, help me spread the word about the BLOG.  We are still young – not even a year old.  We depend on you to help get the word out so we can connect and be a blessing to as many Kids Ministry leaders as possible.  Help us by posting something on Twitter or Facebook with a link to www.briandollar.com – share how the blog has been a blessing to you.  Thanks everyone!