This week a couple of my guys and me went geocaching. Geocaching is a GPS game of finding things people have hid all over your city. Some of the caches are tiny like a 1 inch by 1/4inch magnetic tube while others may be a Tupperware type bowl.
Here is what I love about this: it is free and can be a great thing to do with kids. You have to look for these things but if you are a member ($20 a year) you can get clues that will help you find the hidden item. I wouldn’t do this as a big group (done that – fail). But three of us went this week and it was great. We found all the caches and the guys had a blast.
If you have never done this or heard of it go to http://www.geocaching.com/ and check it out. Quick tips for you:
- Some caches are just finding the location. One time we spent 30 minutes trying to find something when a huge rock was the find. We climb all over the rock, looked in ever crease and hole around it.
- You will want the clues or a good handheld GPS. If you don’t have this then you may spend eternity looking.
- Print out the places you want to find. You can do it on your phone but it is hard.
- Some caches are larger and they have prizes. Take one give one is the policy. These may be simple things like pencils, happy meal toys, etc. All caches have a place to sign your name.
- Micro magnetic finds are cool but you can easily overlook them. Don’t start with these as you may overlook it.
This week on the podcast we had Dave Frederick from www.StudyLeadership.com. Dave has been in ministry for over 30 years and has a passion for helping leaders grow and develop. A few years back he wanted to share his love of reading leadership books with other ministers and created Study Leadership. He tells us about the site. Plus as a bonus he is offering our listeners a free one month subscription by putting “studentminister” in the coupon code. I am a subscriber and big fan of what Dave is doing.
One thing great about his website is for $300 a year you can subscribe to this site and have the summaries sent to as many leaders in your church. This means all your elders, ministers, deacons, youth leadership team, etc. This is one of the greatest bargain you will find to help your entire staff.
Here are the pros
- You can make a scavenger hunt for any event. Could be great for a class to go with a lesson, a special event, at a convention etc.
- You get to pick the items and can use some of the ones they suggest
- You can control who can participate in the hunt (invite them or add them).
- You can set a start and finish time.
- You can set the scoring and it keeps up with it.
- You can see everyone’s pictures as the post them.
- It is free. They have a 99 cent version don’t know the difference between them. I have both but can’t see a difference.
Here are the cons
- You have to create the hunt on your phone. I don’t like typing that much on the phone
- Make sure after you create your list you tap select (you will see a green check mark) before you start the hunt or they will not appear. The advantage of this is you can create 30 things then only select 25 or you can create 30 then only check 3 start your hunt and not ruin your hunt like it did for me (ha).
One quick tip: write out your list first so you can assign a point value to them before you enter them in the phone. Once you enter it in the phone it cannot be edited.
This was a great app. I plan on using it again when our students go to a conference in April or even a mission trip or long bus trip. It will be a great thing to do when they are killing time.
I just finished reading Holy Parenting by Benjamin Kerns. The author is real, authentic, and although I don’t have kids I kept thinking this is what I would look like as a parent. Kerns does a great job captivating you with stories from his life and transferring these thoughts to how to build your faith and your children’s faith. Each chapter follows the flow of a personal story that you will probably be able to relate to and then he leads to think about how these things have a spiritual element.
The first section of the book is about letting go of your old life and accepting your new life after children. He focuses on how to handle the radical change to your life and emotions you may feel.
The second part of the book is when it really got good for me. This section is dedicated to how raising children is a spiritual discipline and how we can grow spiritually by observing, reflecting, and learning from our children and events surrounding parenting. He talked about tea parties and how it teaches us the importance of being present. There is something holy about slowing down, putting away distractions, and focusing our love and attention on our children. This can apply to being there for others, spending time with God, and the value of being there for our family.
Some other things that stood out to me in this section:
- Playmates, community, and personal growth.
- Nap time and Sabbath rest
- How conversations in the car teach us how to pray without ceasing
- Stranger danger and the Holy Spirit
- Scrapbooking and telling the story of God
- Bedtime and reflection
Section three of the book focuses on parents passing on their faith to their children. This is the challenging section of the book. We are challenged to make sure our faith is real because our children can see if we are church goers or Christ followers. His five tips on connecting in worship services are great. The section on Sunday school spoke to me. My wife is a first grade teacher and the number one factor is success for her students is if their parents work with them at home. How many times do parents integrate Sunday school lessons into the rest of the week? He stresses the need for community and how it may look different for us. The chapter on family devotionals gives tips on how to and not to do them. This chapter made me remember all the good and bad ones I sat through as a kid.
In all this is a great book. I would recommend it and plan on getting some copies to pass on to some friends. Ben’s transparency is what makes this book. You get confessions from a dad and minister who has struggled to find a way to implement Duet 6 into his life.
In the fall I went to the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. Gethsemani is a working monastery but has a hotel style section to allow people to come and spend time in silence and solitude. I went and spent four days to commune with God. Here are some of my reflections:
Silence and solitude is a lot like fasting. Initially it is great, then you only concentrate on the fact that you are in silence, finally you find a peace, comfort, and enjoyment in the silence.
At times the silence is deafening, in that you become alone with your thoughts and they are many. You discover what consumes your mind. I was surprised at that three sinful things continued to surface for four days. I knew I struggled with these but not to the degree that I do. Silence brings your sins to light.
When you create space, silence, and solitude you have so much time to talk to God and to read his words. I would talk to God for hours and let him speak to me as well. I spent my time reading the Psalms allowing God to teach me how to talk to him and how he understands my needs and desires.
The monks at Gethsemani pray seven times a day. You would think why would I go and hear them chant their prayers (the Psalms). When you spend 4 days in solitude the only time you are around people in at prayer time and meals (which are spent in silence). But I still longed for these times because it was a time of community. I can’t explain it but I felt connected to the others in the room even though we never talked. I would get up at 3am and 5 am to share these times with others. By the way the chanting was beautiful and I wish I could get it on tape.
I had a chance to talk to one of the monks about mass. He told me that he would arrive an hour early to spend time in the presence of the bread because it was the body of our Lord and he wanted to simply rest in his presence. That moved me and made me think about preparing myself for worship and spending time with my Lord.
The last thing is that old buildings have that smell that is like an old leather book. It is holy and divine in and of itself. I miss the smell of Gethsemani.
If you get a chance I encourage you to go to Gethsemani and spend some time there. Book early. They have 300 acres to allow you time, space, and solitude. They provide you three meals a day that are great. The cost is whatever you want to donate.
Would you like to hear how Andy Stanley, Perry Noble, Dr. Charles Stanley, Louie Giglio, and Vanable Moody prepare their messages? How would you like to learn communication principles from one of America’s best comedians…Jeff Foxworthy?
All of this happens on Thursday, March 15 at 1pm EST. And best of all, it’s 100% free. Preach Better Sermons is a free, three-hour, online conference focused on helping communicators prepare and deliver messages that matter. Some of the best communicators in the world will unpack these seven preaching principles.
- Start with the Scripture.
- Keep it simple.
- Make it portable.
- Show it, don’t just say it.
- Find common ground.
- Finish early in the week.
- Preach with the end in mind.
It’s 100% free and since it happens online, there are no travel costs. Register for the free event here.